The man arrested over the road rage shooting death of six-year-old Aiden Leos after a weeks-long manhunt is a 24-year-old gun-toting auto shop worker.
Marcus Anthony Eriz and his girlfriend Wynne Lee, 23, were taken into custody outside their home in Costa Mesa, California, on Sunday over the May 21 shooting.
The California Highway Patrol said the pair are expected to be charged with murder over the shooting on the 55 Freeway in Orange County.
They are both being held in Orange County jail on $1 million bail each and will be arraigned in Orange County Court at 10 am Tuesday.
Officials said Eriz was the shooter and Lee was driving the vehicle at the time of Aiden’s death.
Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a press conference Monday afternoon that the driver and the shooter are likely to face different charges.
Both the murder weapon and the vehicle they were traveling in have been recovered, he said. They were found at different locations to where the suspects were arrested.
Marcus Anthony Eriz, 24, (left) and his girlfriend Wynne Lee, 23, (right in mugs) were taken into custody Sunday over the May 21 shooting death of Aiden Leos
Eriz is an auto shop worker whose lsocial media is filled with photos of him showing off his guns and firing them at shooting ranges
Aiden Leos was fatally shot while sitting in the backseat of his mother’s car on 55 Freeway in Orange County, California back on May 21
Neither Eriz or Lee are believed to have prior felony convictions, according to online records.
Eriz’s social media is filled with photos of him showing off his guns and firing them at shooting ranges.
In one photo, Eriz displayed two handguns and a rifle. In another photo, he showed off his ammunition.
Eriz works in an autobody shop, according to jail records and his social media accounts.
His girlfriend, who is listed as unemployed on jail records, is the daughter of Taiwanese immigrants who grew up in the San Gabriel Valley.
Her presence on social media is virtually non-existent.
Officials said Eriz and Lee had been under surveillance prior to their arrests.
They had received numerous tips from the public over the case and had also been able to enhance an image of the license plate on the couple’s vehicle.
A white 2018 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen SE matching the description of the vehicle is registered to Lee’s parents.
This then led law enforcement to Eriz and Lee.
After delving into the couple’s backgrounds, officials were able to find out they commuted along the freeway where the deadly shooting took place.
Eriz and his girlfriend are expected to be charged with murder over the shooting
In an old social media post Eriz shows off an AR-15 firearm and Glock pistol (above)
Another post shows bullets and a pistol. Eriz works in an autobody shop, according to jail records and his social media accounts
Spitzer last week urged those responsible to turn themselves in.
‘The longer this goes on… the less sympathy I’ll have. You killed a 6-year-old boy for God’s sake. Come forward. Turn yourself in,’ he tweeted.
He said in Monday’s press conference that those responsible had ignored his request.
‘I called on them to turn themselves in… And they didn’t. So now it is about the system to hold them accountable,’ he said.
Spitzer held up a photo of Aiden as he said both officials and members of the public were affected by the case because ‘it could have happened to any one of us.’
Police believe Lee was driving and Eriz was sitting in the passenger seat when he fired the gun into the back of Aiden’s mother Joanna Cloonan’s car back on May 21. Pictured above is a bullet hole in the car
Police have released multiple images of the white Volkswagen Golf Sportswagen in a bid to track the suspects down. The reward to track them down has now surged to $500,000 prior to the arrests
Police believe Lee was driving and Eriz was sitting in the passenger seat when he fired the gun into the back of Aiden’s mother Joanna Cloonan’s car back on May 21.
Aiden was shot in the back while sitting in the backseat as they drove along the 55 Freeway in Orange County en route to his kindergarten.
Highway patrol officials said the road rage incident stemmed from ‘a perceived unsafe lane change’.
According to accounts from the mother and witnesses who stopped to help her, the road rage ordeal unfolded when the driver of a white Volkswagen Golf Sportswagen cut Aiden’s mother off in the carpool lane.
The boy’s mother stuck up her middle finger at the driver before the other car slipped in behind her and someone inside fired a shot at the rear of her car.
The bullet struck Aiden in the back.
Aiden’s mother pulled over to the side of the road and cradled the little boy until an off-duty police officer stopped to perform CPR and paramedics arrived.
The boy was rushed to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer held up a photo of Aiden as he said the couple would be arraigned for his murder Tuesday
Police released multiple images of the Volkswagen in a bid to track the suspects down.
A $500,000 reward had been offered for information that led to an arrest in the case.
A GoFundMe fundraiser started by Aiden’s family made up the initial $50,000. Since then, the district attorney, local businesses and two Orange County supervisors have all contributed to boost the reward.
‘On behalf of Border Division Chief Omar Watson and the Santa Ana Area, we are deeply grateful for the professionalism and tireless commitment of our investigators who have worked on this case from day one to find those responsible for Aiden’s death,’ California Highway Patrol Commissioner Amanda Ray said in a statement on Sunday.
‘The Department has been in regular contact with the victim’s family and I assure you they, like us, are committed to seeing justice served.’
The arrests came just one day after an open casket memorial service was held for Aiden at Calvary Chapel in Yorba Linda where the little boy was a kindergarten student.
He was remembered as a child with a vocabulary beyond his years who exuded warmth and tenderness.
‘He gave us such joy, giving us purpose to our life. I felt so honored to be Aiden´s mommy,’ the boy’s mother said.
‘I want nothing more than to find justice, though it won’t bring you back into my arms. My precious son had his life ripped away for absolutely no reason.’