- Trader Joe’s manager Melyda Corado, 27, was shot and killed when a man took hostages inside the Los Angeles supermarket on Saturday.
- Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michael Moore confirmed Corado was killed by a police bullet as officers exchanged gunfire with Gene Atkins outside the store.
A Los Angeles police officer fired the bullet that struck and killed a Trader Joe’s manager as authorities exchanged gunfire with a man who took hostages inside the store over the weekend, officials have confirmed.
Trader Joe’s assistant manager Melyda Corado, 27, was shot and killed during the chaos that unfolded in south LA on Saturday.
Investigators believe Gene Evan Atkins, 28, shot his grandmother and wounded his girlfriend before leading police on a chase while exchanging gunfire with officers, crashing into a pole and fleeing into the Trader Joe’s in Silver Lake.
Corado was struck when she stepped into the parking lot as Atkins ran into the store and exchanged fire with police, The Los Angeles Times reported.
Police chief Moore confirmed that Corado had been struck by a police bullet.
“I’m sorry to report that we’ve now determined through our forensic investigation that one of the officers’ rounds struck Ms. Corado as she was exiting the market and was in close proximity to Atkins,” Moore said. “Ms. Corado ran back into the store and collapsed behind the manager’s desk.”
Atkins, who sustained a through-and-through gunshot wound to his left arm during the shootout, is being held on a $US9 million bail facing charges of murder, attempted murder, attempted murder against police officers, false imprisonment of hostages, and felony evading, LAPD Chief Michael Moore said in a press conference.
We have released both body worn and in-car video from the LAPD Officer-Involved Shooting that occurred on July 21st at a Trader Joe's in the Silver Lake area. The press conference from earlier this morning can be viewed by clicking the link https://t.co/9jhiT2RFe5 pic.twitter.com/5J62nQ1Sqt
— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) July 24, 2018
Retired LA County Sheriff’s Department commander and use-of-force expert Sid Heal defended the officers’ decision to open fire in such a busy area, saying that Atkins was an obvious danger to the public.
“We try to have a clear field of fire, but obviously the suspect has a substantial, even a decisive, advantage if we don’t return fire,” he told the LA Times. “There is no easy answer.”
Police chief Moore said that the officers were “devastated” over the news that Corado had died.
“I know it is every officer’s worst nightmare to harm an innocent bystander during a violent engagement,’ he added.
Moore said the officers returned fire at Atkins “to defend themselves” and others during the 28-year-old man’s “dangerous rampage.”
He said: “I believe my officers’ actions were taken to defend themselves and in direct response to the deadly threat posed by Atkins – not just to his grandmother and this 17-year-old woman, and also the assault he enacted against officers in pursuit by repeatedly firing at them, but as he exited that vehicle in a parking lot on a Saturday afternoon with a number of customers and store employees about and ran into a store filled with customers and employees, his violent and dangerous rampage continued.
“Those officers’ actions to stop him, and the split-second decisions they had to make, I recognise how they will forever go through their mind debating whether that was what they had to do.
“But as chief of police, I believe it’s what they needed to do in order to defend the people of Los Angeles and defend the people in that store, and defend themselves.
“And I am truly sorry. As a father, as an individual, it is unimaginable – the pain for the Corado family and everyone who knew her. And we share that pain today.”
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