One of the two men accused of terrorizing 7-Eleven employees and customers during a deadly crime spree in Southern California last week could face the death penalty in connection to the attacks.
Malike Patt, 20, whom Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer called a “stone cold serial killer” during a Monday press conference, is facing three counts of murder over the July 11 shootings at 7-Eleven locations in Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties that left two people dead.
The charges include special circumstance allegations of committing multiple murders and using a firearm during the crime, which makes him eligible for the death penalty, prosecutors said.
“He executed innocent people and he shot others. His behavior and the crime spree he engaged in … it’s chilling,” said Spitzer.
“I’ve been doing this work for over three decades and to see somebody who could just kill people in cold blood like this is … it’s just unfathomable. It’s scary.”
Patt also faces two counts of attempted murder, three counts of robbery with a firearm and one count of carjacking while armed.
Spitzer stopped short of saying whether he plans to pursue the death penalty against Patt, who is scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday.
The second alleged shooter, Jason Payne, 44, also will be charged with three counts of robbery and one count of attempted robbery.
Spitzer said Patt and Payne are not related but knew each other from living on the same street. Both men were arrested on July 15, four days after the first shooting at an Ontario, Calif. 7-Eleven.
The pair allegedly targeted five other locations. Matthew Rule, 24, was killed in a parking lot of a Santa Ana 7-Eleven during an attempted robbery.
Less than an hour later, one of the suspects burst into a Brea 7-Eleven on Brea Boulevard and Lambert Road and allegedly shot and killed 40-year old clerk Matt Hirsch.
Law enforcement officials said Patt and Payne could be tied to similar robberies in Los Angeles-area 7-Eleven stores, including an incident where a homeless man was robbed.
Spitzer said Patt is also accused of murdering a homeless man in Los Angeles on July 9.
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said Monday that he expects law enforcement to present information to his office related to the LA incidents.
“We applaud the hard work and dedication of our law enforcement partners throughout Southern California who arrested these dangerous individuals,” Gascón said in the statement.