A botched robbery. A tourist run over and killed. Violence erupts at upscale Newport Beach mall

The incident reportedly occurred nearby the Barnes & Noble at Fashion Island. Customers were allowed to leave the taped-off parking lot.
Police tape blocks an entrance to the Fashion Island mall in Newport Beach. (Susan Hoffman / For the Daily Pilot)

For the record:
2:58 p.m. July 4, 2024: An earlier version of this article identified Heather Rangel as an LAPD spokesperson. She is a spokesperson for the Newport Beach Police Department.

A tranquil summer afternoon at the upscale Fashion Island mall in Newport Beach disintegrated into violence Tuesday, with a woman killed after a botched robbery attempt.

Two men accosted the 68-year-old tourist and her husband near the Barnes & Noble bookstore at the mall, authorities said. Shots were fired, but police said no one was struck by bullets.

The woman was identified as Patricia McKay, who was visiting from New Zealand, the Newport Beach Police Department announced Wednesday in a news release.

The family said in a statement, "No words can express our sadness as we try to come to terms with the loss of our mother, wife, and friend Patricia."

The couple had been walking at Fashion Island when they were approached by two men who attempted to rob them, according to Police Sgt. Steven Oberon.

A struggle ensued, and McKay was dragged into a parking lot and subsequently run over by a white Toyota Camry driven by a third suspect, police said. There were no other reported injuries.

Heather Rangel, a Newport Beach Police Department spokesperson, said the gun was fired three times but no one was struck. Police declined to say which of the suspects fired the gun or drove the car, citing the ongoing investigation.

After the incident, police pursued the three men into Los Angeles County. Authorities reported that the Camry reached speeds of up to 110 mph as it sped north. A television news helicopter captured video of the car speeding on the left shoulder of the 105 Freeway and at one point grazing the concrete center median.

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During the pursuit, police said, the getaway driver let at least one accomplice out in Cypress before he and another man sped on. The pair eventually jumped out of the car in South Gate, fleeing on foot around Harding and Hoover avenues, according to police and video of the chase shown on multiple news stations.

News video showed one bare-chested man being taken into custody minutes after he jumped from the driver's side of the car. One passenger was found in a residential backyard by police, who also found a firearm nearby, California Highway Patrol Officer Sonia Guzman said.

Eventually, three people were taken into custody, police said.

Authorities identified the suspects as 26-year-old Leroy Ernest Joseph McCrary of Compton; 18-year-old Jaden Cunningham of Lancaster; and 18-year-old Malachi Eddward Darnell of Los Angeles. All three were booked on suspicion of homicide, robbery with a firearm and conspiracy.

McCrary, who also goes by the name Leroy Ernest McCrary, has a history of crimes in L.A. County. He was arrested and charged in October 2022 with being a narcotics addict in possession of a firearm, a felony. He pleaded no contest to that felony charge the October of the following year.

McCrary also was charged in a robbery case in September 2023 and pleaded no contest. He received a concurrent sentence for both convictions and got two years of probation and three years in state prison, with the sentence suspended.

McCrary also was arrested on suspicion of driving with a suspended license in both 2018 and 2021.

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The shooting occurred just after 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at what is known as a usually peaceful shopping center that sits on a bluff above the ocean in the wealthy coastal community.

The Newport Beach Fire Department reported that a person was found dead in the parking lot adjacent to the bookstore.

Authorities notified nearby residents around 4 p.m. to avoid the shopping plaza as they investigated. Police were seen on site guiding the public to safety, and helicopters were flying overhead.

A woman who was shopping in the area at the time described the situation as a “hullabaloo.” She said she was from Los Angeles and was thankful that police responded quickly. She declined to give her name.

A young man who asked not to be identified said he was at Cucina Enoteca in Fashion Island when the incident occurred.

“About 20 people were running and screaming, ‘Someone’s shooting!’ They locked us in the restaurant,” he said.

"This doesn't happen in Newport Beach," Mayor Will O'Neill told KCAL-TV News. "Fashion Island is an incredibly safe place. This is a tragedy, and I'm furious."

City News Service contributed to this report. Winton, Rainey and Solis are Times staff writers. Nguyen and Hoffman are staff writers for the Daily Pilot, a sister publication of The Times.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.