Orange County supervisors have approved spending $100,000 as a reward for anyone providing information that helps lead to an arrest of a suspect in the fatal shooting of a 6-year-old boy on a Southern California freeway.
Aiden Leos was riding in the backseat of a car driven by his mother Friday when he was struck by gunfire on the 55 Freeway in Orange. Supervisor Don Wagner moved to offer a $50,000 reward from his office's discretionary budget and then Supervisor Katrina Foley matched it.
The boy's family also has been crowdfunding a $50,000 reward, and Foley said she has asked Costa Mesa to also offer a reward.
Details about what led up to the shooting were not available, but investigators said it stemmed from an apparent road rage confrontation.
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The other driver opened fire between 7:55 a.m. and 8:15 a.m. Friday on the northbound 55 between the 22 Freeway and Chapman Avenue, California Highway Patrol Officer John De Matteo said.
It's unknown how many rounds were fired and the only initial description of the suspect vehicle is a white sedan, DeMatteo said. Investigators later said the vehicle may be a newer model, possibly white Volkswagen “wagon-style” sedan.
The mother pulled over immediately and called 911 and the boy was rushed to Children's Hospital of Orange County, where he died.
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Surrounded by her family over the weekend, Joanna Cloonan said she wants Aiden Leos to be remembered.
“It almost felt like he wasn’t human sometimes because he was unbelievably kind and sweet,” she said. “As I was merging away from the carpool lane, I heard a loud noise and I heard my son say ‘ow,’ and I pulled the car over as soon as possible, and he had been shot. I tried to save him by calling 911, but he was losing a lot of blood -- he just didn’t deserve that. No one deserves that.”
Investigators did not provide details of the road rage incident but assured the public it was not related to the rash of suspected pellet-gun shootings of vehicles on the 91 Freeway in Orange and Riverside counties.