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California Highway Patrol officials announced they recovered the weapon used to kill 6-year-old Aiden Leos on June 7, 2021. He was riding in his booster seat behind his mom on the 55 Freeway when a bullet struck him in the back on May 22. They also believe they have the vehicle driven during the shooting
Law enforcement requested the public’s assistance to help identify individuals, a man and a woman in a white Volkswagon sedan on that day. It appears as though tips, along with surveillance and investigation, all had a role in identifying the suspects in the shooting death of the kindergartener.
In the weeks that followed the shooting, officials received hundreds of tips by email or phone. A reward for an arrest and conviction grew to half a million dollars, funded by local businesses, county officials, family members, and donations.
During the press briefing on Monday afternoon, CHP officials reported they received a tip that included an image of a license plate. After working to enhance the image, they were able to identify the couple. They dug into the couple’s backgrounds and were able to ascertain they were in the area of the shooting at the time it occurred.
The two shooting suspects are Marcus Anthony Eriz (24) and Wynne Lee (23). They were taken into custody at their residence in Costa Mesa on Sunday.
Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said the couple would be arraigned on Tuesday. A decision on the charges against them would be made by then. He said the DA’s office was reviewing the data and every legal theory in conjunction with the evidence.
CHP Assistant Chief Donald Goodbrand acknowledged the information about the shooting was “extremely helpful.” He did not wish to discuss the reward and if someone would be eligible to claim the money.
While they found the gun thought to be used in the shooting, it was located in a residence other than Eriz and Lee’s.
The CHP impounded the white 2018 Volkswagon Golf SportWagen SE as evidence in the shooting murder was registered to Lee’s parents. It fits the vehicle’s description thought to be driven by the suspects the day the kindergartener was killed.
The VW was registered at an address where Lee and her parents lived previously to complicate matters further. It was recovered from a Whittier address where Eriz’s father lived decades ago, according to The Los Angeles Times review of public records.
The shooting victims’ mom told the police she believed a woman was driving the VW and a man who is believed to have shot the deadly ammunition that resulted in the 6-year-old’s death. Law enforcement officials believe Lee was the driver, and Eriz was in the passenger seat shooting the gun.
In the past few years, Eriz has received traffic citations in Orange County. There have been at least four tickets, including one this past November, for not obeying lane signs for high occupancy vehicles.
Moreover, his social media posts show he has knowledge of and owns firearms. One of the weapons shown on an Instagram account owned by Eriz was capable of shooting the deadly round.
After the couple is arraigned later today, June 8, this article will be updated to reflect the Orange County District Attorney’s Office charges.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
The Los Angeles Times: Surveillance, images, tips led to arrest in road rage killing of 6-year-old Aiden Leos; by Richard Winton
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Steven Straiton’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image by Todd Spitzer Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License