Silver Lake Trader Joe's after fatal July shooting

The boarded up entrance to the store following the shooting.

Silver Lake -- The L.A. Police Commission says that an officer followed department policy when opening fire on a suspect during a gunbattle last year at the Silver Lake Trader Joe's, killing a store manager who was an innocent bystander, the L.A. Times reports.

The Commission, in a vote taken Tuesday, sided with Chief Michel Moore, whose report on the July 21 shooting found that the suspect “presented an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury,” The Times reported. 

Manager Mely Corado was killed on a Saturday afternoon when a police chase ended in a gun battle outside her store. Officers had been pursuing Gene Evin Atkins, who allegedly shot his grandmother and another woman earlier in the day, when his car crashed into a post in front of the Trader Joe’s on Hyperion Avenue.

Officers and Atkins exchanged gunfire as he emerged from the car and went into the store. It was during this time that 27-year-old Corado was shot, went back into the store and collapsed near the manager’s station, according to police. It was later determined that the shot that killed Corado was fired by an officer.

Numerous shoppers and workers were trapped or held hostage in the store for several hours after Atkins surrendered to police

Police chief Michel Moore has apologized over the shooting. However, family members have filed a wrongful death suit against the LAPD, claiming the shooting violated department policy and also alleging that the LAPD conspired to justify and cover up the misconduct.

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