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.
“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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.