Rhean Jalipa Fontanoza accused of killing childhood friend UPS driver Expedito Cuesta De Leon in drive-by shooting

Mugshot of Rhean Jalipa Fontanoza
Rhean Jalipa Fontanoza faces a lengthy sentence if convicted of killing his UPS driver friend. Pic credit: Irvine Police Department

The police in Irvine, California, have charged Rhean Jalipa Fontanoza with the murder of his childhood friend, UPS driver Expedito Cuesta De Leon, who was gunned down in broad daylight as he worked his route last week.

The 46-year-old Fontanoza is accused of murder with special circumstances after he allegedly lay in wait for 50-year-old De Leon and shot him 14 times, leaving the victim slumped in the driver’s seat of his UPS truck.

The cops have not announced a motive but stated that the pair had been friends since childhood and were both UPS employees. De Leon was married with two children and had recently told friends he was looking forward to retirement.

The suspect, Fontanoza, was on disability leave but was scheduled to return to work on June 1.

According to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, on the morning of the murder, Fontanoza asked another UPS driver if they knew which route De Leon was working that day.

When the driver couldn’t tell him De Leon’s route, the suspect allegedly went to the UPS substation in Aliso Viejo to access a computer showing drivers’ routes. He reportedly took a photo of the route on his cell phone.

UPS driver Expedito Cuesta De Leon shot 14 times in Irvine, CA

At approximately 3:00 p.m. that afternoon, a silver Honda Ridgeline pickup truck, allegedly driven by Fontanoza, pulled up alongside De Leon’s truck. De Leon had just returned to his work vehicle following a delivery when he was shot 14 times. The Honda Ridgeline then sped off.

Watch the Latest on our YouTube Channel

A statement from the District Attorney explained what happened, “De Leon then left his truck to make a delivery and returned to his truck, and buckled his seatbelt. He still had his UPS scanner in his hand, and his seatbelt buckled when Fontanoza drove next to De Leon’s delivery truck and shot him 14 times in 19 seconds.”

According to the cops, surveillance footage captured Fontanoza driving the Honda Ridgeline.

Rhean Jalipa Fontanoza arrested in truck after a standoff with police

About three hours later, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department spotted the Honda truck with Fontanoza driving on Santiago Canyon Road, not far from the shooting.

Officers, including a SWAT team, then entered into a standoff with Fontanoza that only ended after police fired tear gas into the truck’s cab and a K-9 dog was deployed to tackle the suspect.

Fontanoza is currently being held without bail and was arraigned on Monday. If convicted, the suspect could face the death penalty.

UPS released a statement on Friday that read in part, “We are shocked and saddened by the latest developments in Irvine, CA. These are highly unusual circumstances and do not represent the culture of our company and the camaraderie among our employees around the world.”

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

1 Comment
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Pela Mela
Pela Mela
1 month ago

Well that’s what he gets for sleeping with Fontanoza’s wife.

1
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x