UPS driver was shot 14 times in ambush killing by childhood friend, D.A. says

Rhean Jalipa Fontanoza was on disability leave from UPS last week when he allegedly tracked down his childhood friend and co-worker, Expedito De Leon, and shot him 14 times as De Leon sat in his delivery truck.

Fontanoza, 46, has been charged in the Orange County ambush murder of De Leon, 50, according to a statement released Tuesday by the county district attorney's office. Both men were from Aliso Viejo.

Irvine Police Department authorities have previously said the two men were acquainted and suspected that the shooting was targeted. The district attorney’s office has not uncovered a motive for the killing.

According to the office, Fontanoza stopped a UPS driver around 12:30 p.m. Thursday and asked if De Leon shared the route. After he was told that De Leon drove a different path, Fontanoza allegedly visited the UPS substation in Aliso Viejo, accessed a computer to view driver routes and took a picture on his phone.

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Shortly before 3 p.m., Fontanoza — driving a vehicle unfamiliar to De Leon — found the delivery driver on his route, drove up next to him and, within seconds, shot him multiple times. Authorities said De Leon had left his vehicle to make a delivery and was shot after he returned and had buckled his seat belt.

Witnesses told authorities that the spot where De Leon was parked was typically where he would stop for his lunch break.

Fontanoza drove away and was later found on Santiago Canyon Road in Orange. When he refused to leave his vehicle, authorities said, police fired tear gas into his car and released a K-9 to try to get him out.

“Mr. De Leon was just going about his day, doing his job with no idea his longtime friend was stalking him with every intent to kill him,” Orange County Dist. Atty. Todd Spitzer said in a statement.

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“The depravity involved to plot and carry out a plan to execute someone you shared a lifetime of memories [with] is not something any one of us can wrap our heads around," he said. "No life should have to end like this, and it is a tragedy that should have never happened.”

Fontanoza was scheduled to return from leave on June 1. He is currently being held without bail.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.