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HomeNewsCity News$400,000 Reward Offered for Catching 55 Freeway Shooter Who Killed Young Boy

$400,000 Reward Offered for Catching 55 Freeway Shooter Who Killed Young Boy

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A reward of $400,000 is being offered for identifying the suspect who fatally shot six-year-old boy Aiden Leos during a road rage incident on the 55 Freeway in Orange on May 21. 

The original reward offered by Leos’ family was $50,000. OC Supervisors Don Wagner and Katrina Foley each offered an additional $50,000 from their offices’ discretionary budgets to increase the incentive in the search of the suspect. Another $60,000 was provided by anonymous donors, and businesses in OC have together contributed $190,000, bringing the total to $400,000 as of May 30.

Leos was fatally shot while his mother Joanna Cloonan was driving northbound on State Route 55 in the city of Orange, taking him to kindergarten. Leos was sitting in a booster seat in the back seat of Cloonan’s vehicle when a white Volkswagen reportedly cut her off. While Cloonan merged out of her lane, she heard a gunshot. 

“As I was merging away from the carpool lane, I heard a loud noise and I heard my son say ‘ow’ and I pulled the car over as soon as possible, and he had been shot,” Cloonan said to KNSD-TV. “I tried to save him by calling 911, but he was losing a lot of blood … he just didn’t deserve that. No one deserves that.”

A bullet traveled through the trunk of Cloonan’s vehicle, striking Leos. After Cloonan called 911, Leos was rushed to Children’s Hospital of Orange County where he was pronounced dead.

The suspects have been described as a man and woman in a white Volkswagen who fled immediately after the shooting took place.

“He was beautiful and he was kind and he was precious, and you killed him for no reason,” Cloonan said of Leos in an interview with Good Morning America. “And I want to find them and I want there to be justice to be served for my son.”

Wagner and Foley each released statements regarding the incident.

“I can’t imagine the horror, and there’s nothing we can do to undo it,” Wagner said in a press conference. “Maybe this [reward] is a little something we can do to help at least bring this person to justice and closure for this family, to the extent that’s even possible in the circumstances.”

“It’s horrific that you’re just driving your child to school, and your whole life changes because you’re changing lanes,” Foley said during a Board of Supervisors meeting. “It’s just outrageous.”

Wagner also held a press conference with OC District Attorney Todd Spitzer to garner public support and urge the killer to come forward.

“You have 24 hours to turn yourself in. I am running out of patience,” Spitzer said. “I’ve been putting people behind bars for over 32 years and we will get justice.”

A GoFundMe page created in an effort to help support Leos’s family has raised over $324,000 in donations as of May 31.

“If anyone saw anything, if anyone knows these people and has heard them talking about it, report it, be a good citizen, and do the right thing because we just can’t let people go around shooting people on the freeway,” Foley said. “That cannot be tolerated in a civilized society.”

Anyone who has information regarding the incident is urged to contact the California Highway Patrol’s Santa Ana office at (714) 567-6000.

Autumn Martin is a City News Intern for the spring 2021 quarter. She can be reached at autumnjm@uci.edu.