New Zealand Tourist, 68, Fatally Struck by Car in Robbery Attempt at California Mall: 'Devastating Loss'

Three men were charged with homicide, robbery with a firearm and conspiracy after the deadly July 2 incident

<p>ABC7</p> Newport Beach Fashion Island on July 2, 2024


Newport Beach Fashion Island on July 2, 2024

Three men have been arrested after allegedly conducting a botched attempted robbery in California that resulted in the death of a New Zealand tourist on Tuesday, July 2, per a Newport Beach Police Department statement.

Leroyernest Joseph McCrary, 26, Jaden Cunningham, 18, and Malachi Edward Darnell, 18, were charged with one count of homicide, one count of conspiracy and one count of robbery with a firearm.

Patricia McKay, 68, was killed outside of the Newport Beach Fashion Island shopping center when two thieves approached her and her husband, Doug McKay.

The McKay family shared a statement, per 1News: "No words can express our sadness as we try to come to terms with the loss of our mother, wife, and friend Patricia."

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The couple were approached by the two men, one armed, who attempted to rob the tourists outside the mall’s Barnes and Noble bookstore at about 3:30 p.m. local time, according to police.

As the incident unfolded, a third suspect, who was driving the getaway car, struck Patricia with the vehicle. She “tragically died at the scene,” per the NBPD. “During the robbery, one suspect fired a handgun three times, though no one was struck by gunfire.”

The suspects then fled the scene in the white sedan and were located by the NBPD at a traffic stop. However, once located, the suspects refused to stop and continued northbound on the 405 freeway. The suspects stopped in Cypress, and one suspect fled on foot but was quickly located and arrested by the authorities.

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The other two victims continued to flee towards Los Angeles County before they abandoned the car and fled on foot. The two were then located and arrested.

An investigation into the incident is ongoing. The Newport Beach Police Department did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

NBPD was assisted by several agencies following the robbery, including Huntington Beach Police airship HB1, California Highway Patrol, Los Alamitos PD, Cypress PD, Westminster PD, Garden Grove PD, Orange County Sheriff's Department, Southgate PD, ATF, and Orange County Sheriff's Communications.

According to the Los Angeles Times, following the deadly incident, Newport Beach Mayor Will O’Neill held a press conference and said, “Newport Beach is a safe community and we’re mourning the loss of someone. Frankly, to hell with these guys,” adding, “These are thugs. Every community is now dealing with this. We have to do better as a society. We cannot tolerate this.”

In a post on X (formerly known as Twitter) on Wednesday, July 3, New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon said his “thoughts are with the McKay family after the devastating loss of Trish."

He added, "They’re great people and my heart goes out to Doug, their family and all those who knew Trish."

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