The parents of a 4-year-old boy who was fatally shot in front of them in what Southern California authorities described as an “unimaginable” road rage incident are demanding the two suspects who allegedly chased down and unleashed a barrage of gunfire on their vehicle go to prison for life, a family spokesperson told ABC News on Monday.
The fatal shooting occurred Friday night in Los Angeles County after the assailants allegedly cut off the family’s car on a highway in Lancaster, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.
The boy was identified on Monday as Gor Adamyan, according to the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s Office.
“It’s unimaginable. This could have been any of our families. It could have been any of us,” Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris told Los Angeles ABC station KABC.
The suspects were identified Monday by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department as 29-year-old Byron Burkhurt and 27-year-old Alexandria Gentile. Both suspects were booked at the Los Angeles County Jail on suspicion of murder, the sheriff’s department said in a statement to ABC News on Sunday.
The violence unfolded around 7:30 p.m. local time Friday as Gor’s parents were driving on the Sierra Highway in Lancaster and encountered the suspects in traffic, according to the sheriff’s department.
“During the incident, the suspect driver cut them off and then began following them through several surface streets,” the LASD said. “While being pursued by the suspects, the victim driver slowed his vehicle, at which time the suspect driver pulled up along the passenger side of the victim’s car and began shooting.”
Bullets fired into the family’s car hit Gor, who was in the backseat, in the torso, authorities said.
“His father and mother, who were in the vehicle, immediately transported him to a local hospital where he was pronounced deceased,” according to the sheriff’s statement.
Miguel Coronado, who is acting as a spokesperson for Gor’s parents, told ABC News on Monday that the family “is asking for both the suspects to be incarcerated for the rest of their lives, no possibility of parole.”
Coronado — the executive director of the nonprofit education group Agents for Change in Los Angeles County’s Antelope Valley, where the shooting occurred — said he met the family for the first time after the shooting and volunteered to help them.
He said the mother told him they were heading to a grocery store when the incident occurred.
“She [the mother] said the suspect kept harassing them, getting in front of them, and in back of them. And next thing you know, they [the suspects] get onto the passenger side of the car and the woman hands the shooter the gun and fired about eight times,” Coronado said the mother told him.
Coronado, who has established a GoFundMe account to help the family pay for funeral expenses, said the mother told him she heard her son cry out “something to the effect that I’m hurt.”
It was the last words the parents heard from their son, Coronado said.
“From what they [the parents] told me, Gor was just a happy, regular little boy. He loved trucks, stuffed animals, just a very upbeat child who loved his mom and dad, loved his family,” Coronado said. “Now he’ll never know the experiences of school, the experiences of having friends. All that has been taken away in a moment of rage. He never even got to go to kindergarten.”
The boy’s parents were not injured.
Investigators were able to identify and track down the suspects within hours through the use of crime-fighting technology the city of Lancaster installed earlier this year, according to Parris.
Detectives said the suspects’ vehicle was detected by the city’s Flock Safety automated license plate recognition technology intended to reduce crime by alerting law enforcement when a stolen or wanted vehicle enters city limits, Parris said.
“We know where they’ve been, we know where they’re going, so when a crime is committed, we can go back in time and find out where they are,” Parris told KABC.
The sheriff’s department asked that anyone with information call its homicide bureau at 323-890-5500.
The incident marked the second time in two days that a child has died from gunfire in the United States, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a website that tracks shooting incidents nationwide. On Saturday, an infant was fatally shot at a home in Memphis, Tennessee, police said.
A 1-year-old baby was fatally shot at a home in Memphis, Tennessee, early Saturday morning, police told Memphis ABC affiliate WATN.
Police officers responded to an emergency call from a home in the Frayser neighborhood of north Memphis and found the mortally wounded baby inside, according to the Memphis Police Department. The infant later died at a hospital, police said.
The circumstances of the shooting remain under investigation and no further information was made public by the MPD.
At least 284 children 11 years old or younger have been killed in shootings this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive.