By Candace Sutton for Daily Mail Australia

04:10 04 Jul 2024, updated 04:59 04 Jul 2024

  • New Zealand woman Trish McKay died violently in California mall
  • Patricia ‘Trish’ McKay was murdered in front of her famous banker husband
  • Robbers tried to steal his watch and her bag and then ran her over

New details have emerged about the final moments of a New Zealand woman who was brutally murdered in front of her husband in a shopping mall in Newport Beach, California.

Patricia ‘Trish’ McKay was fatally struck by men who tried to rob her and her husband Doug McKay, a former Bank of New Zealand executive and CEO of Auckland City Council. The elderly couple were targeted for theft because of their expensive possessions.

Patricia and Doug were standing outside a Barnes & Noble bookstore in the Fashion Island Mall, normally considered a safe location, when two men approached them around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday and robbed them at gunpoint..

A struggle ensued and one of the two men fired a gun several times as he fled on foot.

A fellow customer, Dan Sheen, said he was at the nearby Whole Foods and “heard shots as I was walking outside.”

He told Morning Report he suspected the robbers initially tried to steal Mr McKay’s watch, before turning their attention to Mrs McKay’s bag.

“They wanted a watch that he was wearing, as far as I know,” Sheen said.

‘And then they turned their attention to Patricia with the bag and a struggle ensued.’

New details have emerged about the final moments of New Zealander Patricia ‘Trish’ McKay (left), who was brutally murdered in front of her husband, prominent banker Doug McKay (right), at a shopping mall in Newport Beach, California.

Mr Sheen said that when the shots rang out, “everyone panicked and took cover”.

One of his friends tried to stop the robber who had grabbed Mrs McKay’s handbag and ‘put his arm out as the man ran away with the bag’.

Ms McKay was then dragged into the parking lot, while the two men got into a Toyota Camry driven by a third man, who then hit Ms McKay.

“I heard the screeching sound of the car and then I heard what happened next,” Sheen said.

“That person jumped into the car, drove away at high speed and, as far as I know, ran Patricia over.”

Mrs. McKay, remembered today as a “devoted” grandmother and beloved “mother, wife and friend,” was pronounced dead at the scene.

The 68-year-old and her husband were outside a Barnes & Noble bookstore in the Fashion Island shopping center when they were approached by two men. Three suspects are now in custody
Fellow shopper Dan Sheen told the Morning Report he believed the robbers initially tried to steal Mr McKay’s watch before turning their attention to Mrs McKay’s bag

No one was hit by the gunfire, Newport Beach police Sergeant Steve Oberon told, but the car ran over Ms McKay and then sped away.

Police began a pursuit after shots were fired from the moving vehicle.

Police followed the men on a high-speed chase throughout the region, with the suspects’ cars reaching speeds of 110 mph (177 km/h) on Highway 105.

The chase continued into Los Angeles County, where two of the men jumped out of the Toyota near Los Alamitos and began running through a neighborhood in South Gate, CBS reported.

Police found one of the men hiding behind garbage cans outside a house and arrested him. They then tracked down and arrested two other suspects.

Newport Beach Police officers identified the suspects as Jaden Cunningham, 18, of Lancaster; Malachi Edward Darnell, 18, of Los Angeles; and Leroyernest Joseph McCrary, 26, of Compton.

All three were arrested on suspicion of murder, weapons robbery and conspiracy.

Doug McKay was not injured in the attack. Police confirmed that he and his wife Trish did not suffer gunshot wounds.

“It’s a shock,” said Newport Beach police Sergeant Steve Oberon. “This is just not normal for this to happen.”

General view of the Fashion Island Mall in Newport Beach, California, where the McKays were targeted in a robbery. It is generally considered a safe location

In a statement following the death, the McKay family said: “There are no words that can express our sorrow as we try to cope with the loss of our mother, wife and friend Patricia.”

Auckland Deputy Mayor Desley Simpson said in a Facebook post that she was “deeply shocked” by the news of Trish McKay’s death.

“Trish was the wife of Doug McKay, who – among other key roles – was the first CEO of the merged Auckland City Council,” she said.

“Trish was amazing – funny, loyal and loving. My deepest condolences to Doug and her family.”

As a memorial of flowers and tributes formed outside the Barnes & Noble building, Newport Beach Mayor Will O’Neill said he was “outraged” after hearing the news of the “stunned” attack. He described Ms. McKay’s death as tragic.

“I am shocked. I mourn the loss of someone who died in our city because of crime,” he said. “This is a tragedy and I am outraged.

‘Newport Beach is a safe community and we are grieving the loss of someone.

“Honestly, to hell with these guys… These are thugs. Every community is dealing with this right now. We’ve got to do better as a society. We can’t tolerate this.”

Mr O’Neill said at least one of the suspects “did not belong in a free society” because of his criminal past.

A note attached to a bouquet of flowers at the scene of the death read: “Rest in Heaven, Patricia McKay. Stop the senseless thefts. We need more security… immediately.”

Since the incident, police have been patrolling the shopping centre more intensively.

Bank of New Zealand CEO Dan Huggins expressed “the bank’s deep sorrow and sincere condolences to the McKay family for the sudden and tragic loss of Patricia (Trish) McKay.”

He said Doug and Patricia were an important part of the business family.

“Our thoughts are with Trish’s family, Doug and the McKay family at this time and we are doing everything we can to support them during this time.”