‘Let’s get justice for his family’: Reward reaches at least $200K in search for shooter of 6-year-old boy on California freeway
The reward fund for tips leading to an arrest in the fatal shooting of a 6-year-old boy in an apparent road rage incident last week in California has surged to at least $200,000.
At a Tuesday meeting, the Orange County Board of Supervisors approved the allocation of $100,000 for a reward fund to help identify the shooter, Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley confirmed to USA TODAY.
Don Wagner, another county supervisor, said half of the funding approved by the board will come from his office following his request to offer $50,000 for the reward, according to a Wednesday tweet.
“Let’s get justice for his family and our devastated community,” Wagner tweeted along with his announcement of the board’s approval.
The boy, identified by family as Aiden Leos, was sitting in the backseat of his mother’s car as she drove him to kindergarten when another driver shot him, authorities said. Aiden was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
Family members of 6-year-old Aiden Leos stand at a makeshift memorial Tuesday on the Walnut Avenue overpass at the 55 Freeway in Orange, Calif. (Photo: Leonard Ortiz, The Orange County Register via AP)
The $50,000 from Wagner’s office matches a $50,000 reward offered by Aiden’s family, according to the tweet. Foley also pledged $50,000, according to a Tuesday statement, bringing the total to $150,000.
That total climbed to $200,000 after an anonymous donation announced at a Tuesday vigil for Aiden, said Jess Huang, communications director for Foley’s office.
“What happened to Aiden is a devastating tragedy,” Foley said. “I am heartbroken for his family and particularly for his parents, Joanna Cloonan and Jose Leos. I want to do everything in my power to help bring the shooter to justice.”
It’s possible that the fund has reached $250,000. ABC-7 on Wednesday reported that a group of Orange County businessmen had offered another $50,000.
The California Highway Patrol previously asked for assistance from any drivers who were near the scene of the shooting from 7:55 to 8:15 a.m. on the northbound side of State Route 55 in the city of Orange, about 30 miles southeast of Los Angeles. The freeway was shut down for hours after the shooting as investigators searched for evidence.
Police investigators walk along the closed northbound lanes of the 55 freeway south of Chapman Avenue looking for evidence after a shooting May 21 in Orange, Calif. A 6-year-old boy seated in the backseat of his mother’s car was shot to death by another motorist, authorities said. (Photo: Mark Rightmire, AP)
Hours after police say Aiden was shot, his sister, Alexis Cloonan, tearfully pleaded for the public’s help in the search for the shooter.
Cloonan called Aiden “a rare toddler” and said he would call her “sissy” and come into her room to tell her she was beautiful and that he loved her, according to a Fox 11 Los Angeles livestream of a news conference last Friday.
“He’s only 6, and he was so sweet,” she said. “He was very, very loving boy, so please help us find who did this to him.”
A GoFundMe account to help the family raise reward funds has received more than $230,000 as of Wednesday morning.
Contact News NOW Reporter Christine Fernando at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @christinetfern.
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