A 6-year-old boy was fatally shot during an alleged road rage incident on a Southern California freeway Friday morning.
The terrifying episode unfolded shortly after 8 a.m. in the city of Orange, southeast of Los Angeles, California Highway Patrol officials said.
The child reportedly was sitting in a booster seat in the right rear of his mother’s silver Chevrolet when he was struck on State Route 55 near Chapman Avenue, officials said.
The suspect who opened fire fled northbound and was still at large Friday afternoon.
The unidentified boy was rushed to Children’s Hospital Orange County but did not survive.
“It was an apparent road rage incident between the two vehicles. We’re not sure how many rounds were fired, but a shot was fired into the car which struck the child,” CHP Officer Florentino Olivera told the Daily News.
“Investigators are giving the mom a little bit of time before starting to interview her” about exactly what transpired, he said.
He called the shooting “isolated” and “unrelated” to a recent rash of BB or pellet gun shootings on the 91 freeway in Orange, Riverside and Los Angeles counties.
The suspect vehicle in Friday’s deadly incident was described as a white sedan. The mom’s car was a silver Chevrolet.
The boy was struck from behind when a single round passed through the trunk of the car, the Los Angeles Times reported.
An off-duty police officer pulled over and tried to maintain the child’s breathing until paramedics arrived, according to the newspaper.
Officer Olivera said he couldn’t confirm those details as of Friday afternoon.
The 55 freeway was shut down for hours as investigators combed the lanes for possible evidence.
Olivera asked anyone who may have witnessed the crime or recorded dashcam video between 7:55 a.m. and 8:15 a.m. in that vicinity to contact the CHP’s office in Santa Ana.
“Even if they don’t have video but maybe saw something that might be related, we would love that information, even if they don’t think it’s important,” he said.