New Zealand tourist is killed by a robbery getaway car in California

New Zealand tourist is killed by a robbery getaway car in California

A female tourist visiting California from New Zealand was killed in a botched robbery escape attempt, according to police.

The 68-year-old victim, Patricia McKay, was hit by a car driven by individuals who had allegedly tried to rob her at Newport Beach’s upscale Fashion Island mall, ABC7 reports.

Police identified the suspects in the robbery and subsequent killing as Jaden Cunningham, 18, of Lancaster, Malachi Eddward Darnell, 18, of Los Angeles, and Leroyernest Joseph McCrary, 26, of Compton, according to the Newport Beach Police Department.

All of the suspects were arrested and booked on suspicion of homicide, robbery with a firearm, and conspiracy.

The incident occurred on Tuesday around 3.30pm just outside the Fashion Island Barnes and Noble bookstore in Orange County.

Newport Beach police block access to a street where a 68-year-old woman from New Zealand was killed after she was hit by a car driven by suspects who tried to rob her at the Fashion Island mall in July 2024 (screengrab/KTLA5)

McKay was walking with her husband when two of the suspects allegedly approached the couple and tried to rob them. A struggle ensued, and one of the suspects allegedly grabbed McKay and dragged her into the street, police said.

The suspects then allegedly tried to flee the scene in a Toyota Camry, at which time police say they ran into the victim, hitting her in her head.

“One of the suspects ran while the vehicle fled and actually struck the female victim,” Newport Beach Police Spokesman Steve Oberon told the broadcaster. “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.”

All three suspects were taken into custody after a brief police pursuit.

McKay’s husband was not injured in the incident, according to Oberon. The officer called McKay’s death a “tragic loss.”

Will O’Neill, the mayor of Newport Beach, called the suspects “creeps” during a press conference about the fatal incident, and said they “came into our city, knowing they were going to commit crime, and a woman is dead today because of it.”

Newport Beach police arrest one of three suspects believed to have attempted to rob a 68-year-old woman at the Fashion Island mall before fatally hitting her with a car while fleeing the scene (screengrab/KTLA5)

“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,” he said. “Every community is now dealing with this. We have to do better as a society. We cannot tolerate this.”

He said that despite the death, the mall’s security was “phenomenal” and was a safe place for people to visit.

“Frankly, I would have no problem coming back here with my family,” he said.

There was some initial confusion on the day of the incident; stores in the mall went into lockdown after bystanders reported a shooter in the vicinity.