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California man sentenced in fatal freeway shooting of 6-year-old boy who was on his way to school

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell May12,2024

ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. (TCD) — A 27-year-old man will spend 40 years to life in state prison for fatally shooting a 6-year-old boy in a road rage incident after the child’s mother flipped the defendant’s girlfriend off.

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office announced April 12 that a judge handed down the sentence against Marcus Eriz after a jury convicted him in January of one felony count of second-degree murder, one felony count of shooting into an occupied vehicle, and two felony enhancements of the personal discharge of a firearm causing great bodily injury and death in connection with Aiden Leos’ death.

On the morning of May 21, 2021, 26-year-old Wynne Lee allegedly drove in front of Leos’ mother on the 55 Freeway while she was driving her son to kindergarten. Leos’ mother, identified by KTTV-TV as Joanna Cloonan, reportedly stuck out her middle finger at Lee.

At the time, Eriz was in the back seat of Lee’s vehicle. According to prosecutors, Eriz loaded a firearm and fired at Cloonan’s vehicle, hitting Leos as a result. The victim’s mother heard a loud noise while driving away, and her son said, “Ow.” She pulled over on the freeway, got her son out of the car, and called 911. The boy was transported to the Children’s Hospital of Orange County, where he died.

According to the district attorney’s office, the California Highway Patrol began an “intense manhunt” and later arrested Eriz and Lee on June 6, 2021.

Leos’ parents were not in court, but Eriz addressed the victim’s mother and said, “Ms. Cloonan, I’m truly sorry for taking your beautiful son away from you. I am so sorry for ever hurting him and for the pain that he went through because of me,” KABC-TV reports. 

Eriz continued, “Every night I pray for Aiden and your family. I know the burden and pain that you carry will never change.”

Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a statement, “The depth of pain of a mother desperately trying to find some way to help her little boy as he lay dying is excruciating.”

Lee awaits trial on charges of accessory after the fact and one misdemeanor count of having a concealed firearm in a vehicle. If convicted, she faces a maximum of three years in state prison and one year in the Orange County Jail. She posted $100,000 bond in July 2021 and remains on GPS monitoring.

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Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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2 thoughts on “California man sentenced in fatal freeway shooting of 6-year-old boy who was on his way to school”
  1. It’s absolutely heartbreaking to hear about such a senseless and tragic incident. The fact that a young, innocent child lost his life due to a road rage incident is truly devastating. My thoughts are with Aiden Leos’ family during this incredibly difficult time. Justice has been served with the lengthy prison sentence, but it doesn’t bring back the precious life that was taken.

  2. It’s heartbreaking to see such senseless violence taking away the life of an innocent child. Justice must be served for Aiden Leos and his family. Hopefully, this tragic incident serves as a wake-up call for people to address road rage and conflict with more composure and empathy.

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