A man was charged with murder on Tuesday in a Southern California road rage shooting that killed a 6-year-old boy last month, stunning the region and attracting national attention.
Prosecutors in Orange County charged Marcus Anthony Eriz, 24, with murder in the death of Aiden Leos.
Eriz’s girlfriend, Wynne Lee, was charged with being an accessory after the fact and illegally carrying a concealed firearm.
Authorities said they believe Lee was driving the car and that Eriz fired the shot that killed Leos while his mother was driving the boy to kindergarten on May 21 in Orange County, southeast of Los Angeles.
“With respect to the charges against both, I absolutely am convinced they’re rock solid,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer told reporters.
The couple appeared in a virtual Superior Court hearing on Tuesday but didn’t enter a plea. Their arraignment was postponed to June 18 and a judge set bail at $2 million for Eriz and $500,000 for Lee pending that hearing.
Eriz could face 40 years to life in prison if convicted. Lee faces up to three years in prison and one year in county jail.
The case drew outrage in the county of 3 million people.
At least $500,000 in rewards had been offered from around the U.S. for information leading to an arrest and authorities said they received hundreds of tips before the couple was arrested Sunday in the city of Costa Mesa.
According to accounts from Leos’ mother and witnesses who stopped to help her after the shooting, another car cut her off and she responded with a hand gesture. The car slipped in behind her and someone inside fired a shot through the rear of her car.
California Highway Patrol officials have said that the road rage violence stemmed from “a perceived unsafe lane change.”
Eriz and Lee were arrested Sunday outside of their apartment in Costa Mesa.
Local elected officials on Tuesday thanked community members for raising the reward money and calling in tips to help solve the case.
“In a civilized community, we should be able to drive our kid to school and not worry that they’re going to be shot in the back,” Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley said.
Authorities said the car, described as a white Volkswagen Golf SportWagen, was relatively rare and that helped investigators who examined surveillance footage.
It was found at Eriz’s grandmother’s house in Whittier, but she is not implicated in the crime, The Orange County Register reported.
The gun was discovered at Eriz’s workplace in San Bernardino County, officials said.
The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.
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