Elderly New Zealand woman killed during attempted robbery in Newport Beach, suspects in custody

Leroyernest Joseph McCrary, 26, of Compton; Jaden Cunningham, 18, of Lancaster; and Malachi Eddward Darnell, 18, of Los Angeles were arrested.

Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC

A 68-year-old woman is dead after an attempted robbery took a turn for the worse at a shopping mall in Newport Beach, California. The victim, identified as Patricia McKay from New Zealand, was killed after being struck by a getaway car driven by one of the suspects while out walking with her husband.

According to ABC7, the incident took place shortly after 3:30 pm on Tuesday outside the Barnes & Noble at Fashion Island. Newport Beach Police said in a press release that two suspects, one armed with a handgun, attempted to rob the pair. The woman was struck by the third suspect who was driving the car.

Newport Beach Police Public Information Officer Steve Oberon explained that "One of the suspects ran while the vehicle fled and actually struck the female victim," and that "the male suspect that ran got back into the vehicle at which point some rounds were fired from a handgun and the vehicle fled the scene." Police said that no one was hit by the gunfire.

Police arrived a short time later and assessed the situation. The victim was originally believed to have been killed by gunfire, however, it was soon determined that she died after being struck by the vehicle. Her husband was physically unscathed.

The suspects led police on a chase up the 405 freeway, with one suspect being arrested after attempting to flee on foot in Cyprus, and the other two arrested after abandoning the car in Los Angeles County. The suspects were identified as Leroyernest Joseph McCrary, 26, of Compton; Jaden Cunningham, 18, of Lancaster; and Malachi Eddward Darnell, 18, of Los Angeles. All three were booked on homicide, robbery with a firearm, and conspiracy charges.

Newport Beach Mayor Will O'Neill called the suspects "creeps," slamming them for perpetrating the "stunning, staggering" attack. "Newport Beach is a safe community and we're mourning the loss of someone," he said. "Frankly, to hell with these guys ... These are thugs. Every community is now dealing with this. We have to do better as a society. We cannot tolerate this."

O'Neill maintained that the mall had "phenomenal security," adding, "Frankly, I would have no problem coming back here with my family."

According to the LA Times, McCrary has a history of arrests in LA County. He was arrested on suspicion of driving with a suspended license in 2018 and 2021, and was arrested and charged with being a drug addict in possession of a firearm, which is a felony crime. In October of 2023, he pleaded no contest to the felony charge. 

In September 2023, McCrary was charged in a robbery case, pleading no contest. For both convictions. McCrary got a concurrent sentence and received two years of probation and three years in state prison, with the sentence being suspended.

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The usual demographics. No surprises here. Move along.

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