A 20-year-old man was charged with three counts of murder and several sentencing enhancements in connection with a deadly crime spree at 7-Eleven stores stretching from the Inland Empire into Orange County, making him eligible for the death penalty.
Malik Donyae Patt, 20, and Jason Lamont Payne, 44, were. The relationship between the two men is still under investigation, but the two men are neighbors in Los Angeles, according to Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer.
Patt was being held without bail in Santa Ana jail. The charges against Patt include three counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder, three counts of robbery, one count of carjacking, and several enhancements for engaging in multiple murders and the use of a firearm during the commission of these crimes.
“Malik Patt is a stone-cold serial killer. There’s no other way to describe him,” Spitzer said. “He executed innocent people and he shot others, and his behavior and the crime spree he engaged in…is, I literally got chills up my own spine. It’s chilling.”
Spitzer said the communities where each of these crimes took place were paralyzed by fear that a last-minute visit into a doughnut shop or a convenient store could be fatal.
“To see somebody who could kill someone in cold blood like this is just unfathomable,” Spitzer said.
Payne, who is being held on $1 million bail, was taken to a Los Angeles-area hospital for treatment of minor injuries he sustained while being arrested by the ATF Orange County Violent Crime Task Force. He has been charged with three counts of robbery and one count of attempted robbery.
Patt was identified by police as the gunman behind athat left two people dead, and wounded several others. The crimes began just after midnight on July 11, which happened to be the convenience store chain’s annual 7-11 holiday, with a holdup in Ontario where no shots were fired and no one was injured. It was followed about an hour and a half later with a robbery in Upland at a 7-Eleven store on Arrow Route.
Not even a half hour later, a customer was shot in the head during a robbery at a 7-Eleven in Riverside. The customer remains in “dire condition,” Spitzer said.
Just after 3 a.m., a doughnut shop in Santa Ana was robbed. Twenty minutes later, 24-year-old Matthew Rule of Santa Ana was shot and killed outside the 7-Eleven on 17th Street.when he who was being robbed.
At about 4:15 a.m.,while working at the 7-Eleven store on Lambert Road in Brea. About a half hour later, two people were shot at another 7-Eleven store in La Habra, but those people are expected to survive.
Based on store surveillance images, police linked the same suspect to each of the robberies.
Patt is also being charged with the murder of a homeless man in the North Hills area, near a 7-Eleven store robbed on July 9. The store was one ofthat day. No injuries were reported in those robberies, but the suspect was armed with a handgun.
Spitzer said any murder trial will be held in one county for all the alleged crimes, and he would work with fellow prosecutors in Riverside and Los Angeles counties. Separate charges for the San Bernardino County robberies will also be filed against Patt.
7-Eleven had offered aleading to the arrest and conviction of a suspect in the robberies. It’s not clear if anyone was 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,” 7-Eleven said in a statement.