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Reward in fatal freeway shooting case climbs to $500,000

Patricia Alkawadri of Santa Ana leaves a message at a makeshift memorial for 6-year-old Aiden Leos of Costa Mesa.
Patricia Alkawadri of Santa Ana leaves a message at a makeshift memorial for 6-year-old Aiden Leos of Costa Mesa, who was fatally shot during a road rage incident on the 55 Freeway in Orange on May 21. A $500,00 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the boy’s death.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

As the search continues for those responsible for the death of Costa Mesa 6-year-old Aiden Leos, the Costa Mesa City Council approved its own contribution to the reward being offered for aiding in that ongoing investigation.

At its meeting on Tuesday, the council unanimously approved a $50,000 contribution to the reward money for information leading to the apprehension of a suspect and conviction in the case.

The total reward posted for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in the fatal freeway shooting case has climbed to $500,000, Orange County district attorney spokeswoman Kimberly Edds confirmed Friday.

The apparent road-rage incident that took Aiden’s life occurred in the northbound lanes of the 55 Freeway in Orange on May 21 between 7:55 and 8:15 a.m.

Authorities have said that a male suspect in the passenger seat of another car fired into the back seat of a vehicle driven by Aiden’s mother, and the driver of the suspected vehicle was female.

The suspected vehicle has been described as a 2018 or 2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen that has a sunroof and does not have tinted windows.

The CHP has identified this white Volkswagen Golf SportWagen in connection with the shooting death of 6-year-old Aiden Leos.
(CHP)

Aiden had been on his way to a kindergarten class in Yorba Linda at the time of the incident.

Costa Mesa Mayor John Stephens said that Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley had urged the city to explore contributing to the reward money.

Stephens added that in doing so, he hoped that it could provide comfort to Aiden’s family, encourage the public to assist in the investigation, and serve to deter others from committing similar acts.

“If it motivates someone to bring a tip forward, if somebody reads about what we’re doing tonight and it gets on their radar screen and they bring the perpetrator to justice, then it works on that level,” Stephens said.

“The other thing is, perhaps it’s a deterrent. Perhaps it’s a message that we say to the community that we take public safety seriously, we take these types of acts — terrible, heinous acts of road rage — seriously, and it’s not going to happen in our town, or to one of our residents, without some reaction from us.”

The public can provide tips for the investigation by calling the California Highway Patrol at (714) 567-6000, or by emailing santaanachptipline@chp.ca.gov.

Councilman Loren Gameros made the motion for the council’s approval of the city’s contribution to the reward money to find those responsible for Aiden’s death.

“We don’t know who the person was who did it, and we’re trying to act justly, swiftly and with heart,” Gameros said.

“So, I feel really good about this, I’m glad we have the opportunity to do it, and hopefully it makes a difference, and if it does, I think it will be $50,000 well spent.”

The Orange County Board of Supervisors previously approved $50,000 contributions from supervisors Donald Wagner and Foley from the discretionary budget of their respective offices.

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