Man found guilty of second-degree murder in road rage shooting of 6-year-old

COSTA MESA, CA – A California jury found a man guilty of second-degree murder on Thursday, following a 2021 road-rage shooting incident that tragically claimed the life of 6-year-old Aiden Leos.

Marcus Anthony Eriz, 26, of Costa Mesa, California, faced charges of second-degree murder, firing into an occupied vehicle, and two felony enhancements relating to the personal discharge of a firearm causing great bodily harm and death. The crimes could see Eriz sentenced to 40 years to life in state prison.

“The short, happy life of Aiden Leos is a life interrupted, abruptly ended by a bullet that pierced Aiden’s heart,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer in a statement. “The pursuit of justice did not end until his killer was captured and this child murderer was prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Aiden was traveling to kindergarten with his mother on May 21, 2021, when he was fatally shot during morning rush hour, causing nation-wide uproar, an intense Southern California manhunt for the perpetrator, numerous public appeals for information, and a half a million dollar reward for info leading to an arrest and conviction. Eriz and his girlfriend, Wynne Lee, were apprehended two weeks later. Eriz’s sentencing is due on April 12, and Lee, also of Costa Mesa, awaits her trial.

According to Joanna Cloonan, Aiden’s mother, the fatal incident took place on State Route 55 in Orange, where she reacted to a dangerous maneuver by the driver of a Volkswagen Sportswagen by flipping them off. The car subsequently pulled up behind her, and shots were fired at her vehicle. Aiden, secured in the back seat, was struck by a bullet in the abdomen.

Eriz and Lee’s arrests on June 6, 2021, resulted from community-prompted tips to authorities, who managed to identify the couple from an enhanced image of their vehicle’s license plate. Further investigation revealed that the couple should have been in the vicinity of the shooting site, based on their regular commutes to work in Southern California’s Inland Empire region.

Lee, 26, is now being trialed as an accessory after-the-fact and for concealed firearm carriage inside a vehicle. If convicted, she could serve up to three years in state prison and spend an additional year in county jail. Lee is currently released on a $100,000 bond and subject to GPS monitoring.