Criminal Released by Garcon Responsible for Death

(This story “Newport Mayor Criticizes Judicial system after Released Santa Monica Robbery Suspect Involved in Fatal Newport Beach Incident” originally appeared on July 5 in the Westside Current and is reprinted with permission.)

A man previously arrested for an armed robbery in Santa Monica has been implicated in a fatal incident this week in Newport Beach.

Leroy McCrary, 26, of Compton, Jaden Cunningham, 18, of Lancaster, and Malachi Darnell, 18, of Los Angeles, attempted a robbery at a Barnes and Noble bookstore in Newport Beach on July 2.

During the incident, they confronted Patricia McKay, a 68-year-old tourist from New Zealand, and her husband at gunpoint. The robbery went awry when McKay was tragically killed by the suspects’ getaway car during a struggle.

The incident in Newport Beach was not McCrary’s first run-in with the law. In January 2023, he appeared in court for a previous high-profile crime in Santa Monica, where he and an accomplice forcibly stole a Rolex watch from a man.

The robbery took place in broad daylight on the 200 block of Broadway in downtown Santa Monica. McCrary was later arrested when he appeared in court for an unrelated case, underscoring his pattern of criminal behavior.

After the Santa Monica incident, McCrary was charged with felony robbery and held on $1 million bail. His co-conspirator, Baker, was held on $2 million bail. Despite these serious charges, McCrary was eventually released.

In a press conference after the fatal incident, Newport Beach Mayor Will O’Neill expressed his exasperation over the judicial system’s failure to keep McCrary detained.

“The devastating reality is that at least one of the men arrested yesterday for the robbery and murder of a woman in Newport Beach shouldn’t have been in free society,” O’Neill said. “To hell with these guys, and to hell with every elected official who knew better and didn’t do better.”

District Attorney candidate Nathan Hochman also issued a sharp critique of the current district attorney on X stating, “George Gascon’s malpractice appears to have cost another life. LeRoy McCrary, one of three suspects in Tuesday’s tragic robbery-murder at a Newport Beach mall, was given probation by Gascon last year after pleading no contest to two separate felony cases — robbery and unlawful possession of a firearm. If McCrary had been sent to prison — as he very likely should have been — he would have been unable to murder a 69-year-old tourist yesterday, and her family would have been spared immeasurable grief and suffering. Enough is enough!”

Nathan Hochman is running for DA to replace George Gascon.

News of McKay’s death is being broadcast in New Zealand. A family spokesperson is asking the New Zealand media for privacy, adding, “No words can express our sadness as we try to come to terms with the loss of our mother, wife, and friend Patricia.”

The victim’s husband has been identified by New Zealand press as Doug McKay, a well-known businessman. He was also injured during the attack but is expected to be okay.

All three suspects have been booked on homicide, robbery with a firearm and conspiracy charges.

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2 Responses to Criminal Released by Garcon Responsible for Death

  1. D says:

    So sad to hear of that poor innocent lady. It could happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere. I hope they throw those three in jail and throw the key away!!

  2. Tony says:

    Once again “let em’all out” Gascon has more blood on his hands.

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