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TimesOC: Memorial grows as suspects in shooting of 6-year-old Aiden Leos charged

"Sign up for our TimesOC newsletter" and the L.A. Times logo over the Huntington Beach Pier at sunset.
TimesOC, a newsletter about Orange County, is published Wednesdays and Fridays.
(Los Angeles Times)

Good morning, it’s Wednesday, June 9. I’m Carol Cormaci, bringing you today’s TimesOC newsletter with the latest roundup of Orange County news and events.

The Orange County district attorney’s office on Tuesday announced charges against two suspects, both Costa Mesa residents, in the killing of 6-year-old Aiden Leos on the 55 Freeway in May.

Marcus Anthony Eriz, 24, accused of firing a weapon into a vehicle in an apparent road-rage incident, is charged with murder and discharge of a gun into an occupied vehicle, while Wynne Lee, 23, the driver of the car from which Eriz allegedly pulled the trigger, is charged with accessory after the fact and having a concealed firearm in her vehicle.

Marcus Anthony Eriz, 24, left; Wynne Lee, 23, right, both of Costa Mesa.
Marcus Anthony Eriz, 24, left, and Wynne Lee, 23, right, both from Costa Mesa, are charged in the shooting of 6-year-old Aiden Leos on the 55 Freeway in May.
(Courtesy of Orange County district attorney’s office)

My Daily Pilot colleague, Andrew Turner, reported that during a Monday press conference Dist. Atty. Todd Spitzer promised justice for Aiden. “It’s so important for that little boy to set an example for the rest of society about how we treat each other,” Spitzer said, “and how we operate, and how we get out of control so quickly today and take actions against other people, and some people think without any responsibility whatsoever.”

A reward that grew to $500,000 had been offered for information leading to the suspects. California Highway Patrol Assistant Chief Don Goodbrand said at the press conference that the public had offered “hundreds of tips,” though he did not discuss the reward.

A makeshift memorial with hundreds of stuffed animals and toys grew on an overpass above the 55 Freeway.

Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley, formerly the mayor of Costa Mesa, said the case touched the community because it could happen to anyone. “You think about, ‘Wow, could this happen to me, to my family?’ As a mom, it really impacted me quite a bit,” she said.

L.A. Times photographers compiled photos that visually tell the story of the loss the community felt over Aiden’s death.

Toy blocks spell out a message at the memorial shrine for Aiden Leos.
Toy blocks spell out a message at the memorial shrine for Aiden Leos on an overpass above the 55 freeway in Orange.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

MORE NEWS

— A generation of seabirds was wiped out when a drone crashed at their nesting grounds at Bolsa Chica Wetlands. Scientists say roughly 3,000 elegant terns abandoned 1,500 to 2,000 eggs.

— Rick Warren, the founder of a sprawling megachurch, a best-selling author and one of the most influential figures in American evangelicalism, is retiring as lead pastor of Saddleback Church in Orange County, writes reporter Chris Kuo.

Saddleback Church founder and Senior Pastor Rick Warren poses for a photo at the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest in 2014.
Saddleback Church founder and Senior Pastor Rick Warren poses for a photo in 2014 at the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest. Warren has announced his retirement after 42 years of leading Saddleback Church in Southern California.
(AP Photo / Nick Ut)

— My colleague Ben Brazil writes that today, a little more than a year after Hector Hernandez was shot to death by police in his Fullerton frontyard, the community is still awaiting the results of an investigation into the incident. Meanwhile, the officer who shot Hernandez is still on patrol.

— A 55-year-old Newport Beach woman died after a beachgoer found her face down on the sand in Crystal Cove on May 25 and called paramedics. As of this week, police report the investigation into her death continues.

SPORTS

— Longtime National Football League coach Jim Fassel, an Anaheim High School grad who played quarterback at Fullerton College, USC and Long Beach State, died Monday in Las Vegas, where he most recently lived. He was 71. During his career he held a host of coaching posts, including leading the New York Giants from 1997 to 2003.

Las Vegas head coach Jim Fassel, center, looks on from the sideline.
Las Vegas head coach Jim Fassel, center, looks on from the sideline during their Saturday, Nov. 27, 2010, United Football League title game against Florida in Omaha, Neb. Las Vegas won 23-20. Fassel died at the age of 71 on Monday.
(AP Photo / Dave Weaver)

— In an 8-3 win over the Kansas City Royals, the Angels scored four runs in the first inning en route to a series-opening victory Monday at Angel Stadium. Following their win, the Angeles stood at 28-32 and needed just one more victory this week to clinch a winning record on their seven-game homestand. The two teams met up again in Anaheim last night, with results not available at this newsletter’s deadline.

— The Marina High School boys’ volleyball team has reason to celebrate this week: they captured their first CIF championship after beating Cerritos Valley Christian on Saturday night.

LIFE & LEISURE

— Keizo Shimamoto, creator of the Ramen Burger in 2014, hopes for a July opening of his Ramen Shack restaurant on Camino Capistrano in San Juan Capistrano next month. He thinks the once-sleepy mission town “could be the next great food city.”

 Chef Keizo Shimamoto is photographed in his garage at home in Irvine on May 18.
Chef Keizo Shimamoto is photographed in his garage at home in Irvine on Tuesday, May 18, 2021.
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

— Game critic Todd Martens gives his expert opinion on Disney’s California Adventure’s six-acre Avengers Campus. Is it worth the long wait in line to enter?

— St. James Episcopal Church in Newport Beach is marking Pride Month beginning with the lighting of the church in rainbow colors each Friday and Saturday evening during the month of June with the exception of June 18 and 19 when it will honor Black Lives Matter colors (green, black, red and yellow).

St. James Episcopal Church, Newport Beach shines rainbow lights to mark Pride Month.
St. James Episcopal Church, Newport Beach shines rainbow lights on the outside church wall in recognition of Pride month beginning June 4.
(Susan Hoffman)