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6-year-old boy fatally shot during apparent road rage attack on 55 Freeway in Orange

A row of investigators walk up the lanes of a closed freeway.
Police walk the northbound lanes of the 55 Freeway at Chapman Avenue in Orange County as they investigate the shooting.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
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A 6-year-old boy was fatally wounded Friday when a gunman opened fire on the 55 Freeway in Orange on Friday during a road rage incident, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The suspect fled immediately after the shooting near West Chapman Avenue as police officers and paramedics responded to the gunfire shortly after 8 a.m., authorities said.

The boy’s mother was traveling on the northbound freeway with her child in the booster seat when the shooting occurred, CHP officials said. Witnesses reported hearing a gun shot from a white sedan right before the child’s mother pulled her vehicle over to the shoulder.

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“This was an isolated road rage incident,” said CHP Officer Florentino Olivera. He said the driver of the white sedan shot into the back of the mother’s Chevy Cruze sedan and then fled.

The suspect was last seen heading north on the 55 Freeway, which was shutdown for hours. The northbound lanes were reopened about noon.

Paramedics rushed the injured child to nearby Children’s Hospital, authorities said. Authorities later confirmed that the boy, whose name was not released, had died.

Nearly 60 incidents of small-caliber fire directed at motorists on the 91 Freeway have been reported in Orange, Riverside and Los Angeles counties.

May 21, 2021

Officers could be seen from news helicopter footage combing the closed section of the freeway for evidence.

CHP officials said the shooting was not related to dozens of recent BB or pellet gun shootings on the 91 freeway in Orange, Riverside and Los Angeles counties. There have been nearly 60 incidents in which motorists have come under fire.

A line of people walk along empty freeway lanes.
Police walk the northbound lanes of the 55 Freeway at Chapman Avenue while investigating the shooting.
(KTLA)

Such shootings aren’t unprecedented on California’s busy roadways. In fact, the rear window of a CHP patrol car was shattered after being struck May 14 in Anaheim on the eastbound shoulder of the 91.

“We are taking each of these incidents seriously and actively searching for those responsible,” CHP Assistant Chief Donald Goodbrand said. “The public should still feel safe while driving their vehicles on our California freeways.”

Because of the spate of shootings and the escalating threat, the CHP is conducting a widespread, coordinated investigation across the three counties, Goodbrand said.

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