Two suspects have been arrested in connection with a string of deadly robberies at 7-Eleven stores in Southern California, officials said.
Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer announced the arrests Friday evening. A press briefing was held at 5 pm local time with several agencies to discuss the investigation. He was joined by the police chiefs of Brea, Santa Ana, La Habra and Riverside counties to discuss the crime spree at several 7-Eleven Stores on Monday left two people dead and three others wounded.
Officials named Malik Patt, 20, who was the masked man in photos, and Jason Payne, 44, both from Los Angeles, as suspects. They were arrested in Los Angeles at 1:10 pm Friday and one was injured during the arrest and being treated at a local hospital, police said.
“All agencies as I said worked collaboratively together leading to the Capture and arrest of this suspect, primary shooting suspect and then the second subject we believe was also involved assisting primary suspect and series,” Chief David Valentine of the Santa Ana Police Department said.
Special Agent Monique Villegas hoped that the arrest would hopefully give the victims and families a sense of relief.
“The cause and reason why, but it did appear that it really chilled our communities because we know seven Elevens are the Quintessential convenience store. And so I know our department was reached out to by many patrons, employees and owners of our 711 stores and that’s where our community shops and so we are grateful for them as well,” Villegas said.
Santa Ana Mayor Vicente Sarmiento shared how the community reached out as the events unfolded.
“We know seven Elevens are the Quintessential convenience store. And so I know our department was reached out to by many patrons, employees and owners of our 711 stores and that’s where our community shops and so we are grateful for them as well,” he said.
Board of Supervisors President Doug Cheffey said that a victim relief fund had been established for the families of the two victims and relief would be given to all those affected.
Spitzer said he would file charges on Monday, including Murder with premeditation and deliberation and commission of a felony. Spitzer said he wanted to make sure the primary suspect had no chance of a release.
“This was a reign of terror. To be thinking that you go to a convenience store or Donate job or a sandwich shop and to get shot in the face to call your loved ones. With your last gasps for breath. Or to be a clerk behind the cash register, just helping another customer because you’re working a job and you’re trying to get back on your feet because you’ve been through the school of hard knocks,” Spitzer said.
“You’ve been an addict and you’re working at a 711 because they’ve given you a chance to resurrect your life. And then somebody comes in and catches a transaction and shoots you and kills you.”
Spitzer will hold another press conference next week.
Authorities had said they were investigating whether the six separate robberies, which occurred over a span of five hours, are connected.
An armed robbery was reported at a 7-Eleven in Upland at 12:37 am Monday, Upland police said.
Santa Ana police said they believe the same armed suspect fatally shot a man in the parking lot of a 7-11 about three hours later. The victim was identified by the police as 24-year-old Matthew Rule.
An employee was fatally shot at a 7-Eleven in Brea shortly after 4 am Monday, police said. He was identified by the Brea Police Department as Matthew Hirsch, 40, of La Habra. Police released images of a suspect in the shooting taken from surveillance footage.
The Brea Police Department said it believes the same suspect also robbed a 7-Eleven in La Habra 20 minutes later, shooting a customer and a worker.
A customer at a 7-Eleven in Riverside was also shot around 1:50 am Monday.
7-Eleven is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction, the company said.
It’s unclear if the shootings were connected to Free Slurpee Day, celebrating the chain’s July 11 — 7/11 — birthday.
ABC News’ Teddy Grant and Izzy Alvarez contributed to this report.