Two suspects arrested in alleged road rage shooting of 6-year-old Aiden Leos

Two people have been arrested in the shooting death of 6-year-old Aiden Leos, who died in his mother’s arms on the 55 Freeway in Orange last month in what officials have called a road rage incident.

Marcus Anthony Eriz, 24, and Wynne Lee, 23, were taken into custody at their home in Costa Mesa on Sunday. The California Highway Patrol said in a statement that the agency expects the pair will be charged with murder.

A law enforcement source told The Times that the suspects were under surveillance before their arrests, which followed by a day a memorial for Aiden.

There has been an outpouring of public grief in the aftermath of the death of Aiden, who was on his way to kindergarten with his mother when the shooting occurred. The reward for information about the shooting quickly grew to $500,000, with donations coming from politicians, a local cafe owner and many others.

A photo of 6-year-old Aiden Leos covers his memorial service program at his funeral on Saturday in Yorba Linda, Calif.

(Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)

On the morning of May 21, Aiden was riding in a booster seat in the back of his mother’s car, a silver Chevrolet Sonic, heading northbound on the 55 Freeway in Orange.

His mother, Joanna Cloonan, later told another motorist, Reyes Valdivia, that she and her son were in the carpool lane when she started switching lanes to exit and another car cut her off.

She gestured at the people inside and continued trying to get off the freeway. A bullet entered her car from the rear, striking the boy through his back.

She pulled over and took the bleeding boy into her arms.

The California Highway Patrol released photos of a white 2018 or 2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen that investigators said the suspects were using. The law enforcement source said the two who were arrested Sunday fit the description of the pair in the white car.

The shooting happened on the northbound 55 Freeway in the vicinity of the 22 Freeway. Witnesses reported hearing a gunshot from a white sedan right before the child’s mother pulled over to the shoulder.

In an interview last month, Valdivia recounted how he and his wife, Joanna, had just dropped their children off at school when they spotted the mother pulling her son out from the car. The boy was bleeding.

Valdivia looked at the car and realized a bullet had entered the left side of trunk and hit the boy seated in the back in his booster seat.

“It went through the boy’s back,” he said.

Valdivia, who said he served in the U.S. military, said seeing a child shot was especially hard to take.

“There was no reason, no justification to shoot a child,” he said. “That shouldn’t happen.”

During the memorial Saturday, which was streamed live for the public, Aiden’s mother, sister Alexis and grandmother recalled memories of the young boy, who they described as a “little empath,” mature beyond his years.

Alexis said her little brother was an “angel, too pure and innocent for this world.” Her voice trembled when she recalled how Aiden would call her “beautiful” or “so lovely.”

The California Highway Patrol Border Division’s chief, Omar Watson, thanked the public for hundreds of tips that helped officials identify the suspects.

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