LAPD Chief Says Bullet That Struck Trader Joe’s Manager Was Fired by an Officer

Los Angeles police Chief Michel Moore said in a Tuesday morning news conference that the bullet that struck 27-year-old Melyda Corado, the assistant manager at the Silver Lake Trader Joe’s store, was likely fired by police.

She was killed Saturday during a tense, three-hour hostage situation in the Trader Joe’s store in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles that began with a car chase and gun battle, and ended with a wounded suspect handcuffing himself and surrendering to police, authorities said.

“The source of that round, we’ve recovered it, and ballistically we believe it’s from one of the two officers,” Moore told reporters. “The fatal bullet first hit (Corado’s) arm, then entered her body.”

He described how officers have to make “tough calls” and how police did not know if 28-year-old suspect Gene Evin Atkins would continue his assault after leading them on a pursuit in a stolen Toyota Camry and shooting at officers as he tried to flee. Police believed Atkins shot his grandmother and girlfriend earlier at a home in the 1600 block of East 32nd Street before escaping in the car; police then came across the driver.

The chase came to a stop when he crashed into a pole outside the store on Hyperion Avenue near Griffith Park Boulevard, police said.

He got out of the car and shot at officers and they returned gunfire. Corado was hit by a police bullet as she was going outside to the scene and Atkins ran inside. Wounded, she went back into the store and collapsed by the manager’s desk.

“(The officers) had to make a split-second decision,” Moore said. “I’m here to say that that is the worst, worst decision that any officer ever wishes to have to make.”

Moore described the two Hollywood-area officers on scene as “solid.” One of them has been an officer for two years and the other was a six-year veteran. Their names were expected to be released later this week.

Atkins was charged Tuesday with nearly two dozen counts, including murder. Although he did not fire that gunshot that killed Corado, he can be charged with her killing if he set off the chain of events that led to her death.

Atkins was being held Tuesday in lieu of $9 million bail. He is expected to make his first court appearance in the afternoon.

His 76-year-old grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Madison, remains hospitalized in critical condition. His 17-year-old girlfriend was treated for a gunshot wound to the head, and is in fair condition, authorities said.

Atkins’ cousin, Charleo Egland, told City News Service she didn’t know exactly what prompted the shooting, but said the grandmother did not want Atkins’ girlfriend in the home, and that likely led to a fight.

Another cousin, Deshon Hayward, said in a statement Monday to ABC7 that Madison “is doing good and is in good spirits.’’

“She has a long journey ahead but everything is looking good,” he said. “We would like to send our deepest condolences to everyone that was affected by this horrible tragedy.’’

The Trader Joe’s store was still closed Monday, as a memorial made up of handwritten signs and flowers grew outside the building.

At the Tuesday morning news conference, Moore said he wanted to release the body-cam and dash-cam video to give a “snapshot” of what happened, and that a more comprehensive video would be released within 45 days of the shootout, under a new policy recently mandated by the Police Commission.

A final report would be issued some time after that, which would include video and written materials.

He conceded that the video would likely be closely analyzed by the community and become the subject of discussion by police critics questioning the tactics. But he again asked people to ask “What would you have done?’’

Mayor Eric Garcetti, who is traveling out of the country, issued a statement saying: “Saturday was a dark day for the family of Melyda Corado, and it is our responsibility to shed light as quickly as possible on what happened. Melyda’s loved ones are entitled to answers — and Angelenos deserve complete transparency in understanding the full circumstances of her death.

“I met with Melyda’s father on Saturday to share my sorrow over his daughter’s death, and he has my commitment to a thorough investigation and helping the family in any way possible — as they take those first, enormously difficult steps toward coping with the trauma of losing such a vibrant, compassionate young woman who was loved by so many.”


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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5618 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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