Drawing Mely Corado

Drawing of Mely Corado at a memorial outside her store

Silver Lake -- Hundreds turned out Sunday for an emotional memorial service and candlelight vigil one year after Trader Joe's manager Mely Corado was killed by a police officer's bullet during a shootout between police and a suspect at the store.

Family members and friends shared memories of the 27-year-old manager and pleaded for justice as they wage a legal battle with the LAPD over her death. 

"I cannot bring Mely home," said her father," Albert Corado Sr., during the memorial service at the Silverlake Community Church, two blocks away from the Hyperion Avenue store where she worked and died. "But one thing I can do is I can fight for Mely and give Mely the justice she deserves."

After the service, which was broadcast and recorded on Facebook,  a procession of family members, friends and supporters -- many of whom carried sunflowers -- walked to the Trader Joe's, where they held a candlelight vigil in the store parking lot near the scene of the shootout. 

The suspect in the shootout, Gene Evin Atkins, remains in custody, with a preliminary hearing scheduled for Aug. 28. He faces 51 criminal counts, including the murder of Corado, since her death allegedly resulted from other felonies of which he’s accused.

Corado’s family has filed a wrongful death suit against the LAPD, claiming officers failed to follow the department’s policy on using deadly force when they opened fire on a suspect.

The LAPD, for its part, has determined that that the officer who opened fire followed department policy based on an internal investigation. 

"It wasn't Mely's time," Albert Corado Sr. said during the service. "We are going to make sure justice prevails. Thank you all. Mely forever."

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