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Newport Beach

Volume 6, Issue 47  | June 11, 2021

Fair Game


Law enforcement finally gets their man and woman, suspects in the killing of six-year-old Aiden Leos

Fair Game Tom JohnsonThe news came Sunday that we’ve all been waiting for since the unfathomable May 21st car-to-car shooting on the 55 Freeway. A boyfriend and girlfriend couple, Marcus Anthony Eriz, 24, and Lee Wynne, 23, were arrested in the shooting death of 6-year-old Aiden Leos

The couple was arrested at their Costa Mesa home. Santa Ana area California Highway Patrol investigators, along with investigators from the CHP’s Border Division Investigative Services Unit, had conducted an intensive manhunt that also included resources from the Orange County District Attorney’s Office and other allied agencies.

“On behalf of Border Division Chief Omar Watson, and the Santa Ana area, we are deeply grateful for the professionalism and tireless commitment of our investigators who have worked this case from day one to find those responsible for Aiden’s death,” said CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray. “While these arrests will not ease the pain of a mother’s loss, my hope is for the Leos family to have some peace of mind and to rest assured the CHP will work with the Orange County District Attorney to bring justice for Aiden.”

CHP Border Division Chief Watson also thanked the Southern California community for its “indescribable outpouring of concern and hundreds of tips” that helped investigators find the suspected killers. “The Department has been in regular contact with the victim’s family, and I assure you they, like us, are committed to seeing justice served,” Watson said.

Following the arrest, law enforcement officials were pursuing a search warrant looking for the gun and for the vehicle the couple was suspected of driving during the shooting. One unconfirmed report said that they had found the gun.

The incident occurred when the occupants of a reported white Volkswagen station wagon fired a gunshot into the trunk of a vehicle being driven by Aiden’s mother, Joanna Cloonan, of Costa Mesa. The white vehicle had reportedly committed an act of road rage, following an unsafe lane change, by slamming on their brakes in front of Cloonan’s car, eliciting an unfortunate hand gesture from Cloonan in response.

The white vehicle then maneuvered to a position behind Cloonan’s vehicle from where they allegedly fired at least one shot.

Since the shooting occurred, the community has responded in a huge collective way, contributing some $500,000 in reward money aimed at leading to information seeking the arrest of the suspects.

Meanwhile, a memorial service was held last Saturday, June 5 for Aiden at Calvary Chapel Yorba Linda.

Kudos to Southern California law enforcement. The arrest comes at a time when too many people are unfortunately chanting, yelling and protesting, and calling for the defunding of police. One can only imagine the time, effort and commitment used in good police work to chase down each and every lead this case brought about.

• • •

As the 2020-21 school year draws to a close, so do a number of high school sports seasons, many pushed to the late spring for their conclusion.

First up, Newport Harbor High School boys volleyball. The Sailors headed to Manhattan Beach to take on Mira Costa Saturday night for the CIF Southern Section Division 1 title. Unfortunately, the championship wasn’t to be. Mira Costa won in four sets, 25-15, 23-25, 25-13 and 25-21.

The good news is that neither Newport Harbor’s nor Corona del Mar’s seasons are done. Both move on to the CIF Southern California Regional Division 1 Championships beginning tonight (June 8). The fourth-seeded Sailors will host Sage Creek at 6 p.m. while the Sea Kings, seeded seventh, will travel to meet second-ranked Poway, also at 6 p.m. With victories, both teams will move to the next round, with a rematch with Mira Costa and Newport at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 9 at Mira Costa. Corona del Mar would play either Clovis East at Clovis on Wednesday at 6 p.m. or Loyola on Friday at Loyola at 12 or 1 p.m. The championship is scheduled for Saturday should either local team advance that far.

In girls basketball, Newport Harbor beat up on Calvary Chapel, 75-43, in the CIF Southern Section Division 4A playoffs Saturday night to advance to a finals match-up with Rancho Christian at home on Wednesday (June 9 at 7 p.m.).

Meanwhile, Corona del Mar lost to Western in the CIF-SS Wrestling Championships, 40-21, for the Division 6 Championship. Western, incidentally, finished the year undefeated.

In Division 2 CIF Southern Section baseball, the Sea Kings remain alive winning their opening round game, 4-3, over Northview. This afternoon they host Camarillo in the second round.

In Division 2 semifinal girls lacrosse, CdM beat Dos Pueblos, 12-5, in the semifinals and will play Canyon at home tomorrow (June 9). Canyon comes off an overtime win over Murrieta Mesa, also on Saturday.

• • •

A couple of Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce notes. Thursday is their 2021 Economic and Market Update with UCI Paul Merage School of Business’s Christopher Schwarz. It’s a Zoom meeting with details to register here.

Then, next Tuesday, June 16, the Chamber has two calendared items. First up is an 11:30 a.m. business networking luncheon planned at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar. Advanced reservations are required at or by calling 949.729.4400.

• • •

Finally, tomorrow afternoon from 4-5 p.m., Speak Up Newport will be talking trash. Their Zoom event will focus on the new changes coming to Newport Beach trash collection.

That includes law changes, new trash containers, route changes and compliance issues.

City Public Works Director Dave Webb and Deputy Public Works Director Micah Martin will speak and answer questions.

You can find details here

The meeting is free, so tell your neighbors.

Who we are:

Tom Johnson, Publisher - [email protected]

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