A 20-year-old man accused of carrying out a deadly crime spree at 7-Eleven stores across the Southland — including Riverside — will be charged Monday with three counts of murder, along with attempted murder and other felonies, with Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer calling the defendant a “stone cold serial killer.”
Malik Patt, of Los Angeles, will be charged Monday with two killings that occurred July 11 in or near 7-Eleven stores in Santa Ana and Brea, along with the July 9 killing of a homeless man in North Hills in Los Angeles County, Spitzer said. The crimes will all be prosecuted in Orange County.
Patt will also face two counts of attempted murder, three counts of robbery and one count of carjacking while armed, according to Spitzer. The charges against Patt will include special circumstance allegations of multiple murders and murder in the commission of a robbery. The case will also include various sentencing enhancements for personal use or discharge of a handgun.
Patt faces a possible death sentence, if prosecutors opt to pursue it.
A co-defendant in the case, 44-year-old Jason Payne, described as a neighbor of Patt, will be charged with three counts of robbery and one count of attempted robbery, stemming from heists in Santa ana, La Habra and Brea, Spitzer said.
The district attorney said investigators were still looking into the relationship between the defendants, but they appear to be acquaintances who lived on the same street in Los Angeles.
Spitzer called Patt a “stone cold serial killer, there’s not other way to describe him. He executed innocent people and he shot others.”
He said Patt’s behavior sent “chills up my own spine.”
“To see somebody who could just kill people in cold blood like this, it’s just unfathomable. It’s scary,” he said.
Patt and Payne were arrested about 1:10 p.m. Friday in the 1900 block of West 23rd Street in Los Angeles, authorities said. Police said Patt is the main suspect seen in widely circulated surveillance video photos from some of the robberies.
According to Spitzer, the crime spree carried out by Patt began July 9 with the slaying of a homeless man in the 16100 block of Parthenia Street in the North Hills area. That killing occurred about 200 yards away from a 7-Eleven store that was robbed later that day.
Investigators in Los Angeles County were still working to determine if that robbery and another 7-Eleven robbery are connected to Patt or Payne.
The first 7-Eleven holdup in the crime spree occurred July 11 — or 7-11 — in Ontario. Police said just after midnight, the 7-Eleven at 636 N. Vine Ave. was robbed. The suspect held up the store with a handgun, but no shots were fired and no one was injured.
At 1:35 a.m. Monday, the 7-Eleven store at 2410 W. Arrow Route in Upland was robbed, police said.
At 1:50 a.m., a 7-Eleven store at 5102 La Sierra Ave. in Riverside was robbed by a gunman. That robbery escalated, with the suspect shooting a customer, who was hospitalized in what was described as grave condition. Officer Ryan Railsback of the Riverside Police Department said Friday the victim has shown “slight improvement, but is still very critical.” Possible charges stemming from that robbery and shooting are pending.
Minutes after 3 a.m. July 11, a Yum Yum Donuts at 2441 N. Tustin St. in Santa Ana was robbed, Valentin said.
About 20 minutes later, 24-year-old Matthew Rule of Santa Ana was fatally shot outside the 7-Eleven store at 302 E. 17th St. in Santa Ana. Officers found Rule in the parking lot with a gunshot wound to the upper body, Santa Ana Police Department Sgt. Maria Lopez said. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.
Valentin said Rule was not the primary target of the shooter. He said the gunman was targeting someone else, but Rule “stepped in” to “redirect” the robber and was shot.
Brea police said they responded at 4:17 a.m. to the 7-Eleven store at 109 W. Lambert Road and found a male store clerk fatally shot in what officers determined to be a robbery. The clerk was later identified as 40-year-old Matthew Hirsch, who died at the scene, police said.
About a half-hour later, the 7-Eleven store at 381 E. Whittier Blvd. in La Habra was robbed, and two people were shot, according to Sgt. Eric Roy of the La Habra Police Department. Both victims were taken to a hospital, and both were expected to survive. Police said the victims were a clerk and a customer.
Based on surveillance images, police said they were able to link the same suspect to all of the heists.
Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairman Doug Chaffee said the board will set up a fund to benefit the victims of the crime spree on Tuesday.
“We want to be certain those injured are taken care of,” Chaffee said.
The 7-Eleven company last week offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect in the robberies and killings. It was unclear if anyone will be eligible to claim the reward.
“We are grateful that the Orange County District Attorney has announced local law enforcement has apprehended suspects related to the recent violent incidents. We will continue to fully support law enforcement with their investigation,” according to a company statement said issued after the arrests.