The suspect, seen on a stretcher, has been identified as 28-year-old Gene Atkins
A 28-year-old Los Angeles man has been identified as the suspect in a wild car chase and gun battle that left one woman dead and sparked panic inside a Trader Joe’s store in Silver Lake on Saturday afternoon, authorities said.
Gene Atkins is being held in lieu of $2-million bail on suspicion of murder, according to Officer Drake Madison, an LAPD spokesman.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore said Sunday that it appears the woman was killed as she was exiting the Trader Joe’s during the shootout. It is unclear if the fatal gunshot was fired by Atkins or a police officer, he said.
The dead woman was identified by relatives as Melyda Corado, a manager at the store
Officers attend to a person who was injured during the standoff with a hostage taker at a Trader Joe’s in Silver Lake on Saturday afternoon
The victim was identified by relatives as Melyda Corado, a manager at the store.
Moore said Atkins was involved in a dispute with his grandmother at a South L.A. residence earlier in the day. The two got in an argument over a young woman who was also present at that location, Moore said, adding that investigators had yet to determine the relationship between the woman and Atkins.
At some point, Atkins shot his grandmother multiple times and then took the woman hostage, police said. The woman suffered a head wound during the altercation in South L.A., though it was not clear if she was shot or pistol-whipped, Moore said.
Police later found the suspect’s car in Hollywood using transmissions from its anti-theft device, and a chase ensued. The gunman blew out his own rear window while firing at police, officials said. The pursuit ended with the Camry crashing into a light post outside the Trader Joe’s.
The gunman exchanged fire with police and was struck in his left arm before running inside the store, police said. Dozens of shoppers and employees were trapped inside. Atkins allowed some to leave while others sneaked out. Some crawled out windows.
Bloodied and unnerved, Atkins paced the inside of the store, holding a gun and shouting as terrified hostages hid behind food displays.
Atkins allowed some to leave while others sneaked out., Others crawled out windows, helped by officers
Dozens of shoppers and employees were trapped inside. Atkins allowed some to leave while others sneaked out. Some crawled out windows.
Bloodied and unnerved, Atkins paced the inside of the store, holding a gun and shouting as terrified hostages hid behind food displays, said some of the rescued hostages.
Atkins stayed near the front of the building with about five employees, according to Ackerman, who said at some point the gunman noticed people had found ways to exit the store. He ordered one of his hostages to walk the aisles and round-up anyone else who was hiding, including Ackerman and her daughter.
Ackerman said she noticed a lot of blood in the store but did not know about the death of the store manager while she was hiding. She overheard Atkins talking to police as he demanded to speak with his grandmother and referred to someone being dead. The comments caused her and others hiding inside to grow even more fearful.
“He said to the police that it was their fault for her being dead,” Ackerman said.
After a three-hour standoff, Atkins surrendered to police. He is expected to survive his injuries, Moore said.
Atkins’ grandmother was in critical condition after undergoing surgery, Moore said Saturday. The second woman injured by the gunman was in good condition, he said.
The woman killed at the store was identified online by her brother.