World

Lawsuit filed over woman killed in Trader Joe’s shootout between L.A. police and gunman

A rally was held in Echo Park on Saturday to remember a woman who was killed by LAPD officers during a standoff with a gunman at a Trader Joe’s in Silver Lake.

July 22 marks the five-year anniversary since Melyda “Mely” Corado, the 27-year-old Trader Joe’s manager who was shot and killed in a 2018 shootout between two Los Angeles police officers and 28-year-old Gene Atkins, the gunman who had barricaded inside the grocery store.

Mely’s family held the rally to remember the woman while calling for the LAPD to take responsibility for her death and implement changes to the way law enforcement tackles similar incidents.

On July 21, 2018, Atkins allegedly shot his grandmother multiple times at their home in South L.A. and then kidnapped his girlfriend as he escaped in his grandmother’s car. 

He led LAPD officers on a pursuit through Hollywood and Silver Lake before crashing just outside the Trader’s Joe store on Hyperion Avenue. After crashing into a pole, the suspect exited his car and engaged in a shootout with police.

Witnesses at the scene said people fled the store in a panic as officers struggled to make contact with Atkins. Shoppers and workers who couldn’t flee the store were held hostage inside.

  • Melyda "Mely" Corado seen in a family photo.
  • Police are seen outside a Silver Lake Trader Joe's store, where a possible hostage situation was reported on July 21, 2018. (Credit: KTLA)
  • Melyda "Mely" Corado seen in a family photo.
  • A raly was held in Echo Park on July 22, 2023, to remember Mely Corado's death from a 2018 shootout between LAPD officers and a gunman at a Trader Joe's in Silver Lake. (KTLA)
  • Law enforcement officials respond to a gunman who entered a Trader Joe's in Silver Lake on July 21, 2018. (Credit: (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
  • Family and community members gather outside Trader Joe's in Silver Lake on July 24, 2018, for a memorial honoring Melyda Corado, a store employee who was killed in a shootout there. (Credit: KTLA)
  • Hundreds turned out for a vigil in honor of Mely Corado on July 21, 2019, which was the first anniversary of her killing during a police shootout at the Silver Lake Trader Joe's store where she worked as a manager. (Credit: KTLA)
  • Officials wheel Gene Atkins into an ambulance after a deadly standoff with police at a Trader Joe's in Silver Lake on July 21, 2018. (Credit: KTLA)
  • Authorities arrest the suspect, later identified as Gene Atkins, after a standoff at a Trader Joe's in Silver Lake on July 21, 2018. (Credit: KTLA)
  • During a demonstration nearly two years after the death of Melyda Corado, protesters march in honor of the 27-year-old in the same area of Silver Lake where she was killed. An innocent bystander, she was fatally shot by an LAPD officer in a shootout just outside the Trader Joe's grocery store where she worked, on July 21, 2018.
  • A portrait of Melyda Corado is pinned to a memorial outside Trader Joe's in Silver Lake. (Christina House / Los Angeles Times)
  • Albert Corado, whose daughter Melyda was fatally shot during a police shootout outside a Trader Joe's store in Silver Lake, speaks before a memorial service on July 19, 2019, a year after her death. (Credit: KTLA)
  • Mourners gathered at a Silver Lake church on July 21, 2019, to mark the anniversary of the killing of Mely Corado, who was shot during a gunfight between police and a shooting suspect at the Trader Joe's store where she worked as a manager. (Credit: KTLA)
  • Salvador Albert Corado, father of Melyda Corado, who was shot and killed by LAPD officers at a Trader Joe's in Silver Lake, during a press conference with a family attorney, John Taylor. Melyda's photo is in the background. (Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
  • LAPD Chief Michel Moore discusses details of the Silver Lake Trader Joe's shooting on July 24, 2018. (Credit: KTLA)
  • Marylinda Moss, who was in a hostage situation at a Trader Joe's store in Silver Lake on July 21, 2018, tells her story to KTLA's Frank Buckley. (Credit: KTLA)
  • Two Trader Joe's employees embrace before walking into the Silver Lake store on Aug. 2, 2018. (Credit: KTLA)

As Mely ran toward the store’s entrance upon hearing the car crash, she was shot and killed by two officers firing at the store, officials said. Authorities said the officers did not see Mely and believed the area to be clear of bystanders at the time.

Since Mely’s death, her family has called the shooting “reckless” and attorneys for her family say police failed to follow the department’s deadly force policy when they shot toward a crowded grocery store.

Mely’s family said in the years since, the LAPD has yet to provide information on an internal investigation of the events that unfolded that day. Loved ones are still upset over the department’s lack of transparency and accountability.

“We have basically nothing of substance,” said Albert Corado, Mely’s brother. “They basically said this happened. We did it. We’re sort of sorry, but also there’s someone else who’s responsible and you should take it up with them and that’s kind of where we’re at with that.”

At the time, police did not know Mely had been struck by gunfire for about 18 minutes when the suspect, Atkins, told an LAPD negotiator that she had been hit.

After a three-hour-long negotiation, Atkins was finally taken into custody. The incident left two other women injured with gunshot wounds and six people were transported to the hospital.

Atkins has since been charged with murder in Mely’s death along with several other criminal counts.

The two officers were later determined to have acted lawfully when they opened fire and were not faced with criminal charges in Mely’s death.

“The fact that Corado was struck accidentally by Tse’s [the officer’s] gunfire is tragic, however, it does not negate the lawfulness of the officers’ actions in using deadly force to stop a dangerous fleeing felon,” according to a 2020 report from the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office.

As the family continues calling for action and accountability, their lives remain forever changed by the massive loss Mely’s death has created in their lives.

“Going out to dinner and seeing the empty seat, not being able to tell Mely about all the great things I’ve been able to do, all the new and amazing people I’ve met, the times I’ve fallen in love, I don’t get to share that with her,” Albert said. “I don’t get to share my pain with her or look forward to the future with her.”

Mely’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the LAPD and a trial is scheduled for October. 

KTLA reached out to LAPD for a statement but was told they aren’t able to comment on pending litigation.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button