Prosecutors on Tuesday filed charges against a couple suspected in the road rage shooting death of Aiden Leos, the 6-year-old boy who was killed last month on an Orange freeway.
Marcus Anthony Eriz, 24, has been charged with murder and shooting at an occupied vehicle, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said. Eriz’s girlfriend, 23-year-old Wynne Lee, faces counts of being an accessory after the fact and illegally carrying a concealed firearm.
If convicted as charged, Eriz could be sentenced to a maximum of 40 years to life in prison, while Lee may face up to three years in state prison plus one year in Orange County Jail, according to the DA’s office.
“I do want to promise today … that we will get justice for him,” DA Todd Spitzer said at a Monday news conference. “We have to promise him that.”
Eriz and Lee were arrested at their home in Costa Mesa, authorities announced Sunday evening. They were booked into jail, where their bail was each initially set at $1 million.
The couple on Tuesday afternoon made their first appearance in court, where their arraignments were continued to June 18.
In the courtroom, prosecutors asked the judge to increase Eriz’s bail to $2 million and to reduce Lee’s to $500,000. The judge set those provisional bail amounts until June 18, when the matter will be discussed further.
Investigators believe Eriz fired the fatal shot while Lee was driving the vehicle on the northbound 55 Freeway in Orange the morning of May 21.
Aiden, on his way to kindergarten, was in a booster seat in the back of his mother’s car when he was struck by the gunfire during what CHP described as a road rage incident over “a perceived unsafe lane change.”
According to accounts from the mother and other relatives, the suspect’s vehicle had cut her off while she was driving in the carpool lane, and she made a gesture at the other car. The road rage violence unfolded after that.
In an interview with ABC News, Joanna Cloonan described hearing a “really loud noise” as she began to merge away from the suspect’s car.
“And my son said, ‘Ow,’ and I had to pull over. And he got shot,” she said.
Cloonan immediately pulled over and called 911. Aiden was rushed to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries a short time later.
“It’s every mother’s worst nightmare,” Alexis Cloonan, Aiden’s older sister, told KTLA. “She had to hold him while he was dying. No mother should have to go through that.”
The suspects fled the scene in what was described as 2018-2019 white Volkswagen Golf SportWagen, a photo of which was released by CHP less than a week after the deadly shooting.
“We have recovered what we believe are the weapon and automobile used in the crime,” Donald Goodbrand, CHP Border Division’s assistant chief, said at a Monday afternoon news conference. The items were not found at the arrest site, he added.
Goodbrand credited tips from the public along with the collaborative work of various law enforcement in helping to lead to the arrests.
At least $500,000 in rewards have been offered for information leading to an arrest in the case, but officials at Monday’s briefing declined to disclose any details about whether anyone would receive the funds.
“Information from the public throughout this process has been extremely helpful,” Goodbrand said, noting investigators had received “hundreds” of tips.
Eriz and Lee were apprehended one day after the funeral service were held for Aiden. CHP Capt. Mike Harris told reporters that he personally called Joanna Cloonan to notify her of the arrests.
“I FaceTimed her,” he said. “I let her know what had taken place. She was very emotional.”