Family members identify child killed in apparent road rage shooting in Orange

·2 min read
Orange, CA - May 22: George Aguilar prays with his sons, Jackson, 7, and Jacob, 11, of Anaheim, as they place flowers on a growing memorial on the Walnut Ave. overpass of the 55 Freeway, where 6-year-old boy died after being shot in an apparent road-rage incident Friday morning on the northbound 55 Freeway near the Chapman Ave. exit in 55 Freeway on Saturday, May 22, 2021 in Orange, CA. "I wanted to pay my respects and bring flowers, said Aguilar. "That could have been one of my kids." The gunman and accomplice remain at large. Officials are searching for a newer white sedan, possibly a "Volkswagen wagon sedan," that fled north on the 55 Freeway, (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
George Aguilar prays with his sons, Jackson and Jacob, as they place flowers on a memorial on the Walnut Avenue overpass of the 55 Freeway, where Aiden Leos, a 6-year-old boy, died after being shot in an apparent road rage incident Friday morning. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)

Family members have identified a 6-year-old boy shot and killed in an apparent road rage attack as his mother drove him to school, as authorities continue to search for those responsible.

Aiden Leos died in his mother’s arms on the 55 Freeway in Orange on Friday morning, a relative wrote on an online fundraising page set up to help cover his burial costs.

A poster with a photo of Aiden in between two people
A poster hangs on the fence of the memorial to Aiden Leos. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)

“He said, ‘Mommy, my tummy hurts,’” his sister Alexis Cloonan, 15, said at a news conference recorded by ABC7. “So she went and she picked him up and he was bleeding on her; she had blood on her clothes.”

Someone had shot into the back of the family’s Chevy Cruze sedan, hitting the child from behind, investigators said. He was rushed to nearby Children’s Hospital, where authorities confirmed that the boy had died.

“We’re never going to be whole again,” Cloonan said. "He was amazing, and I hope that they know what they took today."

The child’s mother was driving in the northbound lanes with her son in a booster seat near West Chapman Avenue around 8 a.m., California Highway Patrol officials said.

A white sedan with a man and woman inside cut her off as she tried to switch lanes to exit, the mother told a witness who spoke with The Times on Friday. She gestured to them and proceeded into the exit lane, and that’s when the shooting occurred, the witness said.

The suspect’s vehicle fled immediately after the shooting, authorities said. Family members said the mother described the vehicle as a white Volkswagen Jetta with a woman driving and a male passenger.

A crime scene investigator photographs the Chevy Cruze sedan with a bullet hole in the hatch.
A crime scene investigator photographs the Chevy Cruze sedan that was shot at on the 55 Freeway on Friday. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)

CHP officials said the shooting was not related to dozens of recent BB or pellet gun shootings on the 91 Freeway in Orange, Riverside and Los Angeles counties.

“This was an isolated road rage incident,” CHP Officer Florentino Olivera said Friday.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the California Highway Patrol’s Santa Ana office at (714) 567-6000, or to email kfutrell@chp.ca.gov.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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