The boy’s mother had been driving him to kindergarten at the time of the shooting.
(CN) — On Monday, as the family of 6-year-old Aiden Leos buried him in a private service, police in California prepared to reveal they had arrested a man and woman in connection to the deadly road rage incident that ultimately killed Aiden.
Leos sat in his car seat in the back of his mother Joanna Cloonan’s car on his way to kindergarten on May 21 when they were cut off by a VW Golf and Cloonan made a gesture toward the car. As she exited the 55 Freeway, Aiden screamed his stomach hurt. A shot fired from the Golf had torn through the back of Cloonan’s car and struck Aiden in the abdomen.
Cloonan and passersby tried to save her son but he died at a hospital.
An extensive search has been underway in Southern California since, while an outpouring of outrage and support led to a $500,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. California Highway Patrol Assistant Chief Don Goodbrand said Monday his office received numerous tips related to the case, leading to the arrest of Marcus Anthony Eriz, 24, and Wynne Lee, 23, at their Costa Mesa, California, home.
Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer held up a photo of Leos during a press conference at a CHP station Monday, a few miles from where the shooting took place.
“My name is Aiden Leos. What’s your name?” Spitzer said to the news cameras.
“The one thing in the criminal justice system you don’t want to do is make a promise,” Spitzer continued. “I do want to promise today, when Aiden was put below ground, that we will get justice for him. We have to promise him that. It’s so important for that little boy to have set an example for the rest of society about how we treat each other and how we operate and how we get out of control so quickly today and take actions against other people.”
Spitzer had mixed emotions when police notified him that an arrest was imminent.
“We didn’t know how long exactly it would take or when it would happen, but when I got the text message there were going to be these arrests yesterday, I was both elated and sad,” said Spitzer. “Elated by the fact that we would have two individuals in custody, but really, really sad that there was a memorial service on Saturday and the burial today.”
He added, “God bless Aiden. God bless that little boy. May he rest In peace.”
CHP officials declined to reveal whether anyone would receive the reward money. A press release issued earlier in the day by the CHP incorrectly stated that Eriz and Lee will be charged with murder.
The couple will be arraigned Tuesday afternoon. Eriz faces charges of murder and shooting at an occupied vehicle, while Lee — who was driving the vehicle at the time of the incident — faces a misdemeanor charge of driving with a concealed firearm.
“This senseless crime tore at the community’s heart and brought it together in outrage and sheer determination to find Aiden’s killers,” said Orange County Supervisor Don Wagner in a statement. “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.”