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New Zealand tourist assaulted and killed outside Newport Beach shopping mall, police say

New Zealand tourist assaulted and killed outside Newport Beach shopping mall, police say

A 68-year-old woman visiting from New Zealand was walking with her husband outside a Newport Beach shopping center when she was robbed and killed by three men, police said.

Patricia McKay was outside the Fashion Island mall near Santa Rosa Drive and Newport Center Drive around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday when two men approached her and her husband and tried to rob them; one of the suspects was allegedly armed with a handgun, according to the Newport Beach Police Department.

“There was a struggle and at that point we believe the suspects dragged her into the street,” said Sergeant Steve Oberon.

Police investigate the scene outside a Newport Beach shopping center where authorities say three men robbed and killed a woman who was visiting from New Zealand.

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A third man driving a white Toyota Camry then struck and killed McKay during the robbery, Oberon said.

Another of the men fired a gun three times, police said.

McKay was pronounced dead at the scene. Her body was Found in the parking lot just outside Barnes and Noble bookstore.

“I felt really bad for that woman and that person at that moment, it just wasn’t right,” said Beau Bayless, a good Samaritan who tried to help the couple. He said one of the suspects shot him during the fight.

The three men suspected of the robbery fled the area and led police on a chase that stretched north along the 405 Freeway and into Los Angeles County, police said. The car stopped at a point in Cypress, where one of the suspects got out, and then continued driving into a neighborhood in South Gate, where aerial footage showed both men running from the car while one of them hid behind some trash cans.

All three men were arrested. On Wednesday, police identified them as Joseph McCrary Leroyernest, 26, of Compton; Jaden Cunningham, 18, of Lancaster; and Edward Darnell Malachi, 18, of Los Angeles.

On the day of the killing, witnesses outside the Orange County mall said they heard three to four gunshots before everyone ran for cover. Police told people to avoid the area as they continued to investigate.

“I was planning on getting my sunglasses fixed,” said shopper Rachel West. “I didn’t know there was going to be a crime scene and a dead body when I got here.”

Following the arrest of the three suspects on Tuesday, Newport Beach Mayor Will O’Neill said the area is typically safe.

“I’m horrified. I’m mourning the loss of someone who died within our city because of a crime,” O’Neill said. “This is a tragedy and I’m furious.”

On Tuesday, authorities said the suspects allegedly robbed the woman before jumping into the car and running her over, but police released new details on Wednesday offering a slightly different account.

The victim was initially described as 69 years old, but police identified her Wednesday as a 68-year-old woman.