ORANGE, Calif. (KTLA) — Prosecutors are expected to announce charges Tuesday against the two suspects arrested in connection with the road rage shooting that killed 6-year-old boy Aiden Leos on the 55 Freeway in Orange County last month.
On Sunday evening, the California Highway Patrol announced Marcus Anthony Eriz, 24, and Wynne Lee, 23, were arrested in their Costa Mesa home in connection with the case. The suspects are being held on $1 million bail each.
CHP had earlier said both were expected to be charged with murder, but at a Monday afternoon press conference Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said the exact charges were still being worked out.
Authorities believe Lee was driving the vehicle and Eriz had fired the shots. Filing a murder charge against Lee would be more difficult, Spitzer said.
“We have to prove the same kind of knowledge and intent by the driver as we do with respect to the actual shooter,” he said. “Clearly that’s a bigger hill for us to climb with respect to the driver.”
Leos was fatally shot on the morning of May 21 while seated in a booster seat in the back seat of his mother’s car. She was taking him to kindergarten.
Highway patrol officials said the boy’s mother, Joanna Cloonan, and the suspects were involved in a road rage incident over “a perceived unsafe lane change.”
One of the suspects then fired at least once into the rear of Cloonan’s vehicle, killing Aiden, according to the CHP. The suspects then fled the scene in what officials described as a 2018-2019 white Volkswagen Golf SportWagen with untinted windows and a sunroof.
“While these arrests will not ease the pain of a mother’s loss, my hope is for the Leos family to have some peace of mind and to rest assured the CHP will work with the Orange County District Attorney to bring justice for Aiden,” Ray said.
CHP Border Division Chief Watson also thanked the Southern California community for its “indescribable outpouring of concern and hundreds of tips” that helped investigators find the killers.
“The Department has been in regular contact with the victim’s family and I assure you they, like us, are committed to seeing justice served,” Watson said.
The reward for any information leading to the capture and conviction of the child’s killer has now grown to $500,000, according to Orange County DA Todd Spitzer.
“This senseless crime tore at the community’s heart and brought it together in outrage and sheer
determination to find Aiden’s killers,” Supervisor Don Wagner said on Sunday afternoon.
“My staff and I have been in touch with the family. They are handling this tragedy with grace and courage. I believe they are very grateful to the community for the emotional support and the generous response to the reward. In addition to the CHP and District Attorney, I want to thank everyone who came forward with information; the family and our community deserve closure to this horrific event. Justice will be done for Aiden Leos and his family,” Wagner added.
A private funeral service for family and close friends was held for Leos on Saturday at Calvary Chapel in Yorba Linda.
“It feels so wrong that you’ve been taken from us,” Cloonan said at her Leos’ funeral service. “I want nothing more than to find justice, although it won’t bring you back into our arms. It makes me outraged that such a precious, beautiful soul did not get the opportunity to continue developing into a young man, starting a family of his own.”
“My precious son had his life ripped away from him for absolutely no reason,” she said. “They took his life and my heart along with it.”
Cloonan shared her son’s last wish during her eulogy.
“On his sixth birthday, as he blew out his candles, he looked at us and he said, ‘I just wish for everyone to be happy.’”