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“The saddest day in Trader Joe’s history” — The latest on the deadly Silver Lake Trader Joe’s gunbattle and standoff [updated]

Photo by Gregory Feiner

Updated on Saturday, July 31 @ 6.48 PM

Here’s a recap and the latest information about Saturday’s gunbattle and standoff between police and a gunman at the Trader Joe’s on Hyperion Avenue. One employee was killed and as many as 40 people were trapped or held hostage in the store for about three hours.  The company called it “the saddest day in Trader Joe’s history.”

The Latest

  • The Trader Joe’s opened reopened on Thursday, August 2 nearly two weeks after the shooting.  The Eastsider

What Happened

A suspect who shot his grandmother and another woman in South L.A. earlier in the day was being chased by police when his car crashed into a post in front of the Trader Joe’s at 2738 Hyperion Avenue at about 3:30 pm on Saturday, July 21. He emerged from the car and went into the store as he and officers exchanged fire, police said. The suspect was taken into custody at about 6:30 pm.  A handgun was recovered at the scene.  A store manager was killed after being struck by a police officer’s bullet during a gunbattle with the suspect. “This has been a devastating ordeal,” Chief Michel Moore said.

A police dashcam video shows officers Sinlen Tse and Sarah Winans of the LAPD Hollywood Division pursuing the suspect’s vehicle on Glendale Boulevard and Rowena Avenue before the car turns south on Hyperion Avenue, where it crashes into a post in front of Trader Joe’s.  The gunman then runs into the store as the sounds of gunfire are heard. The officers emerge from the vehicle and crouch behind a cinder block wall across the parking lot from the store’s entrance as more gunshots are heard.

The Suspect

Gene Evin Atkins, a 28-year-old African-American male, faces 30 criminal charges, including murder, attempted murder and false imprisonment. He was wounded in the left arm during the gunbattle with officers. Atkins emerged from the store at about 6:30 pm after he had handcuffed himself with handcuffs he had requested from police, the LAPD said. Relatives  told NBC4  and the L.A. Times that Atkins had been living with his grandmother, Mary Madison, and had been arguing with her about his girlfriend being at the house.

Atkins faces more than 31 criminal charges,  including one count each of murder; kidnapping;  grand theft of an automobile; and assault with a firearm, according to a statement released by District Attorney.  He faces a life sentence if convicted of the charges.  Bail was set at $18.7 million. His arraignment has been postponed until August 14.


The Victim

An image of Corado posted on a memorial outside the store

Melyda “Mely” Corado was a manager at the store.  Three days after the shooting police said that Corado had been killed by a single bullet fired from an officer’s handgun during the gunbattle.  She was hit as she and others were heading out the market’s entrance while Atkins was running inside, police said. After being shot,  Corado went back into the store and collapsed behind the manager’s station. Persons in the store took her out of the market and then police moved her further away. She died at the scene.

Corado, 27, had worked at the Toluca Lake Trader Joe’s for four years before moving to the Silver Lake market, reports NBC4.  “She was always in a good mood, always smiling,” one worker told The L.A. Times. “It’s devastating that I’ll never see her again.”

An online fundraiser to assist with funeral expenses has been setup.

Family and friends spoke at a Sunday morning  funeral service for Melyda “Mely” Corado at the Hollywood Hills Forest Lawn Cemetery on July 29, reports. “When your mother dies, you become an orphan,” said her father, Albert Corado. “When your wife dies, you become a widower. When your daughter dies, there are no words.” ABC7 & FoxLA

Remarks begin at the 35:53-minute mark on a video posted on Facebook by ABC7.

Injuries

In addition to the women who was killed, several others were injured, the L.A. Fire Department said.  Six persons — ranging in age from 12 to 81 – were transported to hospitals in fair condition with non-life threatening injuries. Three additional patients were evaluated and declined being take to hospitals.  A 22-year-old woman, who was injured due to glass fragments, transported herself to a local hospital for treatment, police said on Sunday.

Mary Madison, the suspect’s grandmother,  was expected to survive after being shot several times by her grandson, police told the L.A. Times.

No officers were injured.

Bystanders

Many workers and customers rushed out the doors and exits in a chaotic scene in which some may have been injured. Others emerged from second-floor windows and climbed down ladders that had been propped up along walls by police. An estimated 40 to 50 remained in the store, some were being held hostage by the gunman while others took shelter in the restrooms and other portions of the store. One worker trapped in the store told CBS2 that the gunman threatened to kill them if he could not talk to his grandmother. A 91-year-old customer walking into the market told NBC4 police bullets flew past him as the suspect ran down the main aisle of the market.

The Store

Trader Joe’s store #17  reopened on Thursday, Aug. 2 nearly two weeks after the shooting, according to The Eastsider

“While we remain heartbroken over the tragic death of Melyda Corado and the trauma our Crew Members and customers have suffered, we recognize that moving forward is an important part of supporting the healing of this community,” the company said in a statement. “While we move forward, we will never forget.”

Information

Anyone who  has any information regarding this incident is asked to call the LAPD at (213) 486-6850.

Meetings & Vigils

A public memorial service for Trader Joe’s manager Melyda “Mely” Corado will be held on Sunday, July 29 at the Forest Lawn  Hollywood Hills cemetery, reports ABC7.

Related Links

To Shoot or Not to Shoot: The decision by the LAPD to engage in a gun battle with many bystanders present has met with a met a mixed reaction, with some praising the officers and others taking them to task. L.A. Times

At the Gelson’s: A video of the scene inside the Gelson’s market as customers and employees react to the gunbattle across the street at the Trader Joe’s. YouTube

Transparency: The L.A. Times editorial board praised Chief Moore’s response to the shooting that took place less than a month after he became head of the department.

Memorial in a Pasadena Trader Joe’s store

3 comments

  1. Damn. Hard to know what to say other than hope the perpertrator gets locked up and the keys thrown away.

  2. I try to always side with the cops in situations like this. No one knows how they will react during a police Chace and being shot at…having said that….
    During these police chases the cops never get close enough, they let it last too damn long, every minute they don’t stop the chase, every intersection they fly through tragedy can happen.
    At the end of the chase the cop car should have driven right into the crashed car getting as close as possible,when the guy gets out of the car its already a hostage situation, shooting at a suspect with so many shoppers inside is a bad idea anyway. You get as close as possible before shooting. A marksman with a rifle might have gotten a good shot at him running but not with a hand gun, I don’t care how much training you have. this shooting was as accurate as a drive by. And defies any police shooting policy that I have ever heard of. This looked like a bad movie.

  3. The chase and firefight was handled in a reckless and irresponsible manner by the police officers.

    They made things more dangerous and endangered more people by continuing the chase past the point they should have backed off.

    Then, they further exacerbated their foolish behavior with their even more reckless shoot first behavior.

    The perpetrator should be charged with murder.

    But the cop who drove the vehicle and who shot the Trader Joe’s employee should have his/her badge taken away for good.

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