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Crime News Breaking News

'Stone Cold Serial Killer' Charged With String Of 7-Eleven Attacks In Southern California That Left At Least Three Dead

Orange County officials say 20-year-old Malik Patt faces the death penalty after he allegedly shot and killed at least three people during a hectic two-day crime spree.

By Jax Miller
Police handouts of Malik Patt and Jason Payne

A pair of neighbors have been charged in connection with a violent crime spree targeting 7-Elevens that left at least three dead across southern California.

Malik Patt, 20, and Jason Payne, 44, both of Los Angeles, were arrested by a task force with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) on Friday for a string of violent robberies that began in early July.

On Monday, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office announced charges against Patt, which were more severe than those of his alleged co-conspirator, Payne, according to their press release. Patt was charged with three counts of felony murder, two counts of attempted murder, three counts of robbery, and carjacking, with added sentencing enhancements, making him eligible for the death penalty.

“This is a stone-cold serial killer who executed innocent people,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer stated. “Every time he walked into another donut shop or convenience store, the clerk behind the cash register had no idea the death and destruction that he had already left in his path - and that they could be his next target.”

For his role, Jason Payne was charged with three felony counts of robbery and one felony count of attempted robbery. If convicted, he faces more than nine years in prison.

Although the violent attacks occurred in several counties across southern California, state law allows for consolidation, which prevents victims from having to go through multiple courtroom proceedings in various jurisdictions. Therefore, Patt and Payne will be prosecuted in Orange County, officials stated.

Prosecutors say the crime spree began on July 9 when Patt allegedly robbed a 7-Eleven convenience store before fatally shooting a homeless man in the head in North Hills, Los Angeles County. The victim’s identity was withheld pending notification of the victim’s family.

Two days later, on July 11, authorities say Patt robbed a Yum Yum Donuts store at gunpoint in Santa Ana just after 3:00 a.m.

At 3:23 a.m., just 20 minutes after the donut store robbery, 24-year-old Matthew Rule attempted to enter a 7-Eleven in Santa Ana before finding the door was locked, according to the district attorney’s office. Prosecutors say Patt confronted Rule and another man in the parking lot before fatally shooting Rule in the head.

At 3:54 a.m., just 31 minutes after Rule’s murder, Pratt allegedly held up 40-year-old store clerk Matt Hirsch at a 7-Eleven in Brea before robbing the store and fatally shooting Hirsch.

Just over an hour later, Patt allegedly robbed a La Habra 7-Eleven before approaching a man sitting in his vehicle and shooting him in the face. However, the man survived, according to the district attorney’s office. Patt also allegedly shot and wounded an unnamed clerk after he exited the store.

Prosecutors say Patt then carjacked a local individual who was leaving his home and later abandoned the stolen vehicle.

“He could have taken the money and left them alive, but instead, he chose to kill whoever and whenever he wanted,” Spitzer continued. “And he would have kept killing if it weren’t for the amazing work of law enforcement to identify these individuals and arrest them so quickly.”

Before Friday’s arrest, widely circulated still shots from security video showed the suspect in a hooded sweatshirt, as released by the LAPD. 7-Eleven also offered a $100,000 reward for the information leading to an arrest.

Although authorities did not release what led them to apprehend the suspects, a source told the LA Times that a tip was called in to officials after the reward was announced.

According to CBS News, one of the suspects was transported to an area hospital following unspecified injuries sustained during the arrest. It remains unclear which suspect this was and whether he had been released from medical care.

Patt and Payne were captured by the ATF’s Orange County Violent Crime Task Force, which consists of members from the ATF, investigators from the Orange County District Attorney’s AB 109 Task Force, and local police.

Since the task force formed five years ago, authorities have “investigated and arrested individuals and crews committing commercial robbery series, smash-and-grab robberies, home invasion robberies, commercial burglaries, as well as firearm and narcotic offenses that occur within or otherwise impact Orange County."

“This is law enforcement at its best,” said Spitzer. “Working together to ensure that violent criminals are taken off our streets and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

7-Eleven also released a statement following Patt and Payne’s arrests, according to CBS News.

“We are grateful that the Orange County District Attorney has announced local law enforcement has apprehended suspects related to the recent violent incidents,” they said. “We will continue to fully support law enforcement with their investigation.”

Authorities are continuing to investigate whether Patt and Payne are connected to other violent crimes, including a murder attempt at a Riverside 7-Eleven and other robberies throughout Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside counties.

Malik Patt and Jason Payne are scheduled for arraignment on Tuesday morning.