The mother of a "beautiful" 6-year-old boy killed in an apparent road rage shooting in Southern California is calling for "justice to be served", and has announced a US$50,000 (NZ$69,250) reward to help find her child's killer.
Joanna Cloonan was driving along the Southern California freeway in Orange County on Friday morning (local time) when her son Aiden Leos, who was in the back seat, was shot.
"There was some type of road-rage incident," California Highway Patrol Officer Florentino Olivera said at a news conference, NBC News reported. "Unfortunately, the boy in the back seat was shot."
Aiden was rushed to hospital but was pronounced dead shortly after.
Cloonan issued a plea for information and help to find her son's killer in an interview with ABC News on Sunday (local time).
"They took my son's life away," she said. "He was beautiful and he was kind and he was precious, and you killed him for no reason and I want to find them and I want there to be justice to be served for my son."
Cloonan said she was taking Aiden to school when a white sedan abruptly cut her off and then someone in the vehicle opened fire on her car, striking Aiden.
"As I started to merge away from them, I heard a really loud noise and my son said, 'Ow,' and I had to pull over and he got shot.
"I pulled over and I took him out of the car and I tried to put my hand on his wounds while calling 911. Because he was losing a lot of blood."
She told ABC Aiden "meant the world" to her, and it now feels like her "life is over".
"That was my baby. I've never, never thought pain like this could exist."
Aiden's family member John Cloonan said they would remember him as a kind child.
"Everybody he met, everybody he talked to, he would compliment them and be kind to them before he could talk," he said. "He was a beautiful, beautiful soul."
The family is now offering a reward of US$50,000 (NZ$69,250) for information that leads to the shooter's arrest.
A GoFundMe page has also been set up to cover funeral costs, a new car and mental health help as the family come to terms with Aiden's death. It has already raised US$211,544 (NZ$292,990).