Two people have been arrested in an hourslong pre-dawn crime spree at multiple 7-Eleven stores across Southern California, leaving two dead and others seriously injured, the Orange County District Attorney's Office said.
Malike Patt, 20, and Jason Payne, 44, both of LA, were arrested at about 1:10 p.m. Friday in the 1900 block of West 23rd Street in LA authorities said at a news conference in Santa Ana. Patt is considered the main suspect seen in widely circulated surveillance video photos from some of the robberies.
Patt was being held in the Santa Ana jail and Payne was taken to a Los Angeles-area hospital to be treated for minor injuries sustained while being arrested, Santa Ana Police Chief David Valentin said.
After the OC district attorney's announcement, Upland police announced that two people had been arrested.
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Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said he planned on filing murder charges next week stemming from shootings that occurred during the robbery spree in Brea and Santa Ana on Monday. He said Patt will be charged in a way that will lead to no bail.
Upland police and Santa Ana police were set to join the OC DA at the news conference.
"I don't know what to say. I just got off the phone making funeral arrangements. As for the killer, I don’t know what to say. I am speechless. I just hope that he gets some justice done, and not get leniency," said James Hirsch, the father of victim Matthew James Hirsch, a 40-year-old 7-Eleven clerk killed in Brea.
The crime spree in Orange and Riverside counties on Monday, July 11 -- or 7-11 -- left two people dead and three wounded, including a clerk and a man discovered in the parking lot. A customer in Riverside was shot in the head and remains in grave condition, but his family, ever hopeful, said he was squeezing their hands.
In the days following the spree, 7-Eleven offered a $100,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the suspect. It was unclear if anyone will be eligible to claim the reward.
"7-Eleven is offering a $100,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the suspect. Tipsters may remain anonymous by contacting Orange County Crime Stoppers at 855-TIP-OCCS," a spokesman from 7-Eleven, Inc said.
The pre-dawn robberies were reported in a time span of about five hours on Monday July 11, or 7-11, the date that the convenience store chain celebrates its anniversary and offers free Slurpees. Police are seeking one man captured on security camera video in at least two of the crimes.
Corporate headquarters encouraged 7-Eleven stores in the region to close overnight in the wake of the violence.
“Our hearts are with the victims and their loved ones,” 7-Eleven statement said in a statement.
In Brea, a store clerk was shot and killed during a robbery.
Railsback noted that criminals usually understand convenience store robberies rarely yield large amounts of money, especially during overnight hours.
“If you go hit a liquor store or a 7-Eleven or a fast food place, you’re not going to get a lot of cash out of it,” he said. “It’s kind of odd that they would do this.”
Timeline of Robberies, Shootings at SoCal 7-Eleven Stores
The series of early morning shootings and robberies were reported in Ontario, Upland, Riverside, Santa Ana, Brea and La Habra.
Police in La Habra and Brea said Monday they believe they are seeking the same person. On Tuesday, Riverside police confirmed the man sought in the Riverside case also appears connected to the crimes in La Habra and Brea.
Officials in the other communities have not yet made the same determination but said they are aware of the other crimes at 7-Eleven stores.
Midnight, Ontario: The first robbery was reported at about midnight in Ontario. A masked man brandished a handgun at a store employee and demanded money, according to Ontario police. No shots were fired. No injuries were reported. It was not immediately clear whether anything was stolen.
Just Before 2 a.m., Tuesday, Upland: The second robbery was reported in Upland, about 5 miles from the Ontario store. Someone approached a store clerk with merchandise, then displayed a semi-automatic handgun, police said. The man took about $400 to $500 in cash and fled. No shots were fired.
3 a.m., Tuesday, Riverside: About an hour after the Upland robbery and 25 miles away, a gunman shot a customer at a Riverside 7-Eleven. Police said they believe the clerk handed over cash from the register. The shooting victim was in grave condition.
“It doesn’t appear to be any reason that the suspect shot the customer,” Railsback said. “It sounds like the clerk gave him whatever he asked for.”
3:20 a.m., Tuesday, Santa Ana: About 25 miles from Riverside, another shooting was reported in the parking lot of a Santa Ana store. Officers found the body of a man, identified as 24-year-old Matthew Rule, of Santa Ana, in the parking lot with a gunshot wound to the upper body.
“At this moment, we don’t believe he was an employee,” said Santa Ana Sgt. Maria Lopez. “We don’t really know yet what he was doing there in a parking lot if he was a potential customer or just walking by.”
Security camera video shows the shooter dropping items, possibly belonging to the victim as he fled, Lopez said.
4 a.m., Tuesday, Brea: A 7-Eleven employee was shot and killed in the northern Orange County community of Brea. The clerk was identified as 40-year-old Matthew Hirsch who died at the scene, police said.
Before 5 a.m., Tuesday, La Habra: Officers in nearby La Habra responded to a reported robbery at a 7-Eleven and discovered two gunshot victims. Authorities have not disclosed the victims’ conditions.
Security camera photos released by Upland and Brea police show a masked man wearing a black sweatshirt with the hood pulled over his head. The sweatshirt had white lettering with green leaves on the front.