Suspect charged with murder in shooting death of UPS truck driver in Irvine

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

A 46-year-old Aliso Viejo man was charged Monday with murder in the shooting death of a United Parcel Service driver in Irvine.

Rhean Jalipa Fontanoza was charged with murder with a special circumstances allegation of shooting from a vehicle and murder by lying in wait. He was also facing a sentencing enhancement for shooting a gun causing death.

Arraignment was scheduled for Monday.

Fontanoza is charged in the killing of 50-year-old UPS driver Expedito Cuesta De Leon, also of Aliso Viejo. The victim was driving his UPS truck when he was shot at about 3 p.m. Thursday on a street in the Orange County community.

Security camera video showed the suspect’s silver Honda Ridgeline pulling up next to the UPS truck, police said.

The victim was shot multiple times. He was found slumped over in the driver’s seat of the work truck.

Aerial footage from NewsChopper4 showed police tape surrounding the truck parked along a street.

There was no word on a motive, but police said the two are acquaintances.

Hours after the shooting, law enforcement located a pickup truck that matched the description of a suspect vehicle that witnesses provided. The driver of the pickup truck, which was located along State Route 261 and Santiago Canyon Road.

Fontanoza was arrested after a standoff.

In a statement, UPS said its hearts “are heavy with the news of the loss of one of our drivers in Irvine.”

“The safety and well-being of our employees is our top priority, and we are providing support and counseling services to our employees affected by this tragedy,” UPS’ statement read.

Any witnesses with information on the shooting were asked to call police at 949-724-7200.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.