SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A Southern California man charged with killing a 6-year-old boy in a road rage incident last month told police he pulled out a gun and fired at a car on the freeway after he got angry with a driver who made a rude gesture, prosecutors said.
Orange County prosecutors wrote in a court document filed Wednesday that murder suspect Marcus Eriz, 24, told police on June 6 that he grabbed the loaded gun, rolled down the window and shot at the car driven by a woman who gestured toward him on a freeway while he was on his way to work on May 21.
The shot killed 6-year-old Aiden Leos while he sat in a booster seat in the back of his mother's car on his way to kindergarten, prosecutors have said.
Days later, a co-worker told Eriz that authorities were looking for a car similar to the one he used with his girlfriend, Wynne Lee, 23, who since has been charged with being an accessory after the fact, the court filing said.
Eriz then hid the car in a relative's garage and instead started using a red truck, shaved his beard and began pulling back his hair, prosecutors said in the document, while calling Eriz an “extreme danger” and asking the court to deny him bail.
Eriz and Lee are scheduled to be arraigned Friday in the case that has drawn outrage in the county of 3 million people, where many people, like Leos, rely on freeways to get to work and school.
The pair were arrested outside of their Costa Mesa apartment on June 6. Eriz was charged with murder and shooting at an occupied vehicle and with enhancements and has been held on $2 million bail. Lee faces the accessory charge and a charge of illegally carrying a concealed firearm and is being held on $500,000 bail.
Eriz's attorney, Randall Bethune, and Lee's attorney, Tom Nocella, declined to comment before the arraignment.
In the court document, prosecutors said Leos' mother was driving on the freeway May 21 when she was cut off by a car driven by Lee and Eriz, to which she responded by holding up her finger rudely. She then heard a loud bang and her son say “ow” and she pulled over and saw he was bleeding from his chest, the document said.
Days later, prosecutors said Eriz brandished a gun at another driver on the freeway.
“This brazen act of threatening other commuters with a loaded firearm shows this Court that the Defendant cannot control his emotions and the smallest event can set him into a deathly rage,” prosecutor Whitney Bokosky wrote in the filing.
Prosecutors said Lee is also a flight risk and suggested that her bail remain at $500,000.
In the weeks after Leos’ death, authorities offered a reward for tips leading to an arrest and said they received hundreds from the community.
They said the couple’s car, a white Volkswagen Golf SportWagen, was relatively rare and that helped investigators track it down through surveillance footage.