‘Mommy, my stomach hurts’: The heartbreaking final words of a six-year-old boy killed in his booster seat on his way to school after his mother gave another driver the finger for cutting her off on a California freeway – as his sister begs for justice.
A six-year-old boy has been identified after he died Friday morning after being shot during a suspected road rage attack while seated in his car booster seat on a Southern California freeway.
Aiden Leos was being driven to school by his mother and was seated in the back seat of the family car when another motorist cut her off on the northbound side of State Route 55 in Orange, California, southeast of Los Angeles.
Aiden’s mother was said to have flicked the other driver in the rear view mirror, but the gesture triggered a deadly and tragic chain of events.
As she moved over to the right lane, a gunman believed to be sitting in the suspect’s passenger seat fired into Aiden’s vehicle, striking the boy in the back.
‘Mommy, my stomach hurts!’ the child is said to have exclaimed.
Aiden’s mother picked him up and cradled him in her arms after pulling over to the side of the road, until an off-duty police officer stopped to perform CPR and paramedics arrived on the scene.
‘She had blood on her clothes, and he began to turn blue, and that’s when the ambulance arrived, and that’s the last time my mother saw him alive,’ the boy’s sister, Alexis Cloonan, said during a tearful family press conference on Friday.
‘Would you kindly assist us in identifying the perpetrators of this atrocity against my younger brother? He’s only six years old, and he was such a sweetheart. He was a very loving boy, so please assist us in determining who committed this crime against him,’ Alexis pleaded through tears.
‘[My mother] had to hold her small child as he died, and she is distraught at the moment,’ Alexis explained.
‘He was an uncommon toddler. I just loved having him in my life,’ she said, referring to the kindergartener who would frequently visit her room to express his love for her.
A GoFundMe page established for Aiden’s mother and to assist with her child’s burial expenses has raised more than $18,000.
The horrific incident occurred at approximately 8:10 a.m. during the morning school run. Aiden was being escorted to his Calvary Chapel Yorba Linda kindergarten class.
Authorities are on the lookout for a male and a female suspect. The male passenger is believed to have fired the fatal shot while his female companion drove the vehicle, which is believed to be a white Volkswagen wagon sedan from a recent model year.
‘You can tell it was a cowardly act because they shot her in the back,’ the boy’s uncle John Cloonan explained.
‘You have no idea how much you took today. You kidnapped her son, her boy. This young man was brimming with love, joy, and laughter,’ he continued.
‘I hope someone knows something and that whoever did this understands the devastation you have caused this family. Not that it matters much now that my nephew is no longer alive. We will never be completely full again.’ She [Aiden’s mother] was merging to the right side to avoid this person, and as you can see if you go online and look at the photos, there is one bullet shot in the trunk that went through the trunk and directly into my nephew,’ Cloonan explained.
Police had not released the names of any wanted suspects as of late Friday night.
‘It was an isolated incident of road rage between the mother and another driver in a white sedan,’ California Highway Patrol Officer Florentino Olivera said at the scene.
According to Olivera, the fatal gunshot was fired from a white sedan and struck the rear of a silver Chevrolet Sonic traveling ahead.
‘Unfortunately, a child in the right rear seat was struck,’ he explained.
Aiden was pronounced dead at Orange County Children’s Hospital.
‘If your vehicle is equipped with a dashcam, we are requesting that you contact our CHP office in Santa Ana and provide the video,’ Olivera said.
‘If you were driving by and noticed something was wrong, report it – even if it was nothing serious – to our office. We are interested in hearing from witnesses.’
Reyes and Joanna Valdivia told the Orange County Register that they were driving their children to school when they noticed the visibly distraught driver of the Chevrolet pulling her injured son from the backseat and collapsing to the ground.
When the couple pulled over to offer assistance, Reyes stated that the mother, whom he described as ‘hysterical,’ informed them that she had given the middle finger to the driver of the white sedan that had cut her off in the carpool lane.
According to the mother, when she veered to the right, the white sedan followed her and a gunshot was fired.
For hours, the freeway was closed as about a dozen investigators slowly walked the lanes in search of evidence.
According to CBS Los Angeles, nearly a dozen pellet and BB gun shootings occurred on freeways in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside counties over the last three weeks, but Olivera said Friday’s road-rage killing had nothing to do with those earlier incidents.