Silver Lake, CA – In 2018, a police spokesperson admitted that the only victim who died after a shooting that turned into a hostage situation at a Trader Joe’s store in South Los Angeles was fatally shot by officers who fired a hail of bullets at the storefront. Now, more than two years later, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office announced that the officers who recklessly fired into the building and killed the manager, will face no charges.
Melyda Corado, 27, was an assistant manager at the grocery store and her life ended tragically when her workplace became the scene where a police chase ended and officers started to exchange gunfire with the suspect they had been pursuing.
According to the LA Times, in their filing decision, among the final batch overseen by outgoing Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey, prosecutors decided the officers were only reacting to Atkins’ provocations. Atkins, not the officers, was “criminally responsible for Corado’s death,” prosecutors wrote.
“The officers knew the Trader Joe’s store was filled with customers and employees. Tse and Winans returned fire in an attempt to stop Atkins from trying to injure or kill them or civilians in the Trader Joe’s,” the memorandum reads.
This ruling should come as no surprise however, as the LAPD already investigated themselves last year and ruled they broke no policy.
“This is what LAPD does. They can fire eight shots into a Trader Joe’s and kill someone and they think that’s just how these things played out,” Melyda's brother, Albert Corado said Tuesday. “That it’s a tragedy, but unfortunately, that’s the cost of LAPD doing business in the city.”
The cover story started from the very beginning. At the time of the shooting, police chief Michael Moore attempted to defend the actions of the officers by claiming that they “had to make a split-second decision. I’m here to say that that is the worst, worst decision that any officer ever wishes to have to make.”
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As TFTP reported at the time, Corado initially walked outside of the grocery store to ascertain what was happening when it became the place where a vicious police chase ended, and as soon as gunfire was exchanged and she was shot by officers, she went back inside and collapsed behind the manager’s desk where she bled to death.
Medical aid was not immediately called for Corado, and it is unclear if the officers even realized that she had been wounded, because they were so focused on Gene Evin Atkins, 28, who was the suspect in their chase.
The ordeal began when Atkins reportedly opened fire on both his 76-year-old grandmother and his 17-year-old girlfriend. Atkins’ cousin, Charleo Egland, told the Orange County Register that she believes an argument broke out because Atkins’ grandmother did not approve of his young girlfriend, and did not want her inside of the house.
After he fired multiple shots at his grandmother, Atkins took the young girl—who suffered a bullet wound to the head—with him when he left, which made him a suspect for both kidnapping and attempted murder.
When police officers located Atkins’ vehicle and began pursuing it, the chase ended in front of the Trader Joe’s store when Atkins crashed into a pole. He got out his car and began shooting, and the officers who were on the scene engaged and exchanged gunfire.
Atkins then went into the grocery store to take cover, which resulted in a three-hour standoff with police, and dozens of citizens were taken hostage. Corado was among the hostages, and now the question remains as to whether her life could have been saved if she had received immediate medical attention.
LAPD Chief Moore blamed Corado’s fatal injuries on the fact that she was too close to Atkins when she exited the store. However, the hail of bullets, which was supposed to be exclusively targeting Atkins, only resulted in a minor injury to his arm.
Melyda Corado’s family and friends are now left to mourn her tragic death with no hope for justice.