The reward fund for tips leading to an arrest in the fatal shooting of a 6-year-old boy in an apparent road rage incident last week in California has surged to at least $300,000.
Donations, including the allocation of $100,000 from the Orange County Board of Supervisors, helped push the reward to more than five times its original amount, Supervisor Don Wagner confirmed to USA TODAY.
Wagner said efforts by the family of the boy, identified as Aiden Leos, and the community spurred additional donations, and “the situation is fluid” in terms of where the reward fund stands.
“We do hope the reward continues to increase and incentivize anyone with any information to help catch Aiden’s killer,” Wagner told USA TODAY.
Wagner said half of the funding approved by the board will come from his office followinghis request to offer $50,000 for the reward, according to a tweet Wednesday.
“Let’s get justice for his family and our devastated community,” Wagner tweeted along with his announcement of the board’s approval.
Aiden was sitting in the backseat of his mother’s car as she drove him to kindergarten when another driver shot him, authorities said. Aiden was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
The $50,000 from Wagner’s office matches a $50,000 reward offered by Aiden’s family, Wagner told USA TODAY. Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley pledged $50,000, according to a statement Tuesday, bringing the total to $150,000.
The total climbed to $200,000 after an anonymous donation was announced at a vigil for Aiden on Tuesday, said Jess Huang, communication director for Foley’s office. Then a group of business owners reached out to Wagner’s office to offer another $50,000, Wagner told USA TODAY.
Wagner said Wednesday his office had news of another $50,000 anonymous donation, putting the total at $300,000.
“What happened to Aiden is a devastating tragedy,” Foley said. “I am heartbroken for his family and particularly for his parents, Joanna Cloonan and Jose Leos. I want to do everything in my power to help bring the shooter to justice.”
The California Highway Patrol asked for assistance from any drivers who were near the scene of the shooting from 7:55 to 8:15 a.m. on the northbound side of State Route 55 in the city of Orange, about 30 miles southeast of Los Angeles. The freeway was shut down for hours after the shooting as investigators searched for evidence.
Hours after Aiden was shot, his sister, Alexis Cloonan, tearfully pleaded for the public’s help in the search for the shooter.
Cloonan called Aiden “a rare toddler” who would call her “sissy” and come into her room to tell her she was beautiful and he loved her, according to a Fox 11 Los Angeles livestream of a news conference last Friday.
“He’s only 6, and he was so sweet,” she said. “He was very, very loving boy, so please help us find who did this to him.”
A GoFundMe account to help the family raise reward funds had received more than $247,000 as of Thursday morning.