In Monday’s LPM Insider we brought you information about a stand off / shoot out with police in a Los Angles Trader Joe’s. The store manager was shot and killed in the ensuing gun battle. This is an update to that story: The Los Angeles Police Department announced Tuesday that one of its officers fired the bullet that struck and killed a Trader Joe’s employee in the frantic moments they exchanged gunfire with a suspect in an attempted murder case over the weekend.
“On behalf of myself and the rest of the Department, I want to express my deepest condolences and sympathy to her family and everyone that knew her,” Chief Michel Moore said of the store manager, Melyda Corado, 27. “I know that it’s every officer’s worst nightmare to hurt an innocent bystander during a violent engagement. I spoke with the officers this morning — they’re devastated. They were devastated in the immediate aftermath of this event.” Moore said that the officer who fired the shot that killed Corado was with a partner chasing suspect Gene Atkins, who had allegedly shot his grandmother hours earlier and had repeatedly fired on pursuing officers chasing him through Hollywood and Silver Lake. The LAPD has not identified the officer who fired the shot that killed Corado.
When Atkins crashed his car into a utility pole next to the market, he jumped out and fired at police as he ran into the store, Moore said. The two officers in closest pursuit got out of their car and returned fire. One of those bullets struck Corado, Moore said. “I’m sorry to report that we’ve now determined through our forensic investigation that one of the officers’ rounds struck Miss Corado as she was exiting the market and was in close proximity to Atkins,” Moore said. “Miss Corado ran back inside the store and collapsed behind the manager’s desk.”
The chief said he would wait until the investigation was completed before determining what consequences, if any, the officers involved in the gun battle would face internally. But on its face, he said, their decision to shoot at Atkins appeared justified. “I believe it’s what they needed to do in order to defend the people of Los Angeles, defend the people in that store and to defend themselves,” Moore said. “I ask that you place yourself in these two officers’ positions and ask yourself ‘What would you have done?” Moore noted that he was releasing details of the shooting along with police dashboard and body camera video of the incident earlier than is typical “in order to frame the circumstances that these officers found themselves in.” The videos show three perspectives of the chaotic car chase through busy Silver Lake on Saturday afternoon. [Source: Los Angeles Times]