UPS driver killed in Irvine ID'd; suspect worked for same company, police say

The Irvine Police Department identified a UPS driver who was fatally shot while sitting in his van in Irvine, as well as the driver's alleged assailant, who also worked for the same company.

In a written statement released Friday, the department identified the driver as 50-year-old Expedito Cuesta De Leon of Aliso Viejo. The man arrested in connection with his killing was identified as 46-year-old Rhean Fontanoza, of the same city.

Rhean Fontanoza
The Irvine Police Department arrested 46-year-old Rhean Fontanoza, of Aliso Viejo, in the killing of a UPS driver. (Irvine Police Department)

Irvine Police Sgt. Karie Davies said the two men were acquaintances and worked for the same company, but no motive for the shooting was known.

De Leon was fatally shot Thursday afternoon while sitting inside his parked van near the intersection of Chrysler and Bendix streets.

Surveillance video from nearby buildings showed a male assailant in a silver Honda Ridgeline four-door truck drive alongside the UPS driver and fire multiple times into his van, Davies said. Neither the driver nor the shooter got out of their vehicles. The silver truck is shown leaving the area on Goodyear toward Jeronimo Road.

Police said there was no evidence of a robbery.

"He literally pulled up next to the UPS truck, shot him and drove away," Davies said. "It looks like it was targeted, but we don’t know the relationship yet."

Davies said authorities found De Leon slumped over in the driver's seat. Officers pulled him out of the van and began lifesaving measures. Paramedics pronounced the man dead at the scene.

Witnesses told authorities they recognized the UPS driver and that he was on his regular route. The spot where he was parked was where he would stop and have his lunch break, they said.

In a statement, UPS said it was shocked and saddened by the killing.

"These are highly unusual circumstances and do not represent the culture of our company and the camaraderie among our employees around the world," the statement read. "Our focus now is on supporting our people and their loved ones during this extremely difficult time."

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The Orange County Sheriff's Department found Fontanoza in his silver pickup in the area of Santiago Canyon and Jamboree roads.

Aerial video of the arrest on KABC-TV showed a SWAT team boxing in the truck. A K-9 dog was released to try to get the suspect, who was in the back seat, out of the vehicle. The man was eventually pulled out by officers before being taken into custody.

"They ultimately had to force him out of the vehicle with SWAT techniques," Davies said.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.