Silver Lake Hostage Suspect Held On $2 Million Bail

posted by City News Service - 

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The man who held customers and employees of a Silverlake Joe's hostage in a standoff that resulted in the shooting death of a woman inside the store was identified today as 28-year-old Gene Evin Atkins.

Atkins remained hospitalized under guard today, booked on a murder charge and held on $2 million bond, Los Angeles Police Department spokesman Officer Drake Madison said.

“I don't yet know what other charges he will face,” Madison said.

Melyda Corado, 27, manager of the Silverlake Trader Joe's, was identified by her brother as the woman who was killed.

The brother, Albert Corado, first Tweeted during the incident that his sister worked at the Trader Joe's and that the family could not contact her.

He later mourned her death online. “I'm sad to say she didn't make it,” he said. “My baby sister. My world.”

Atkins' cousin, Charleo Egland, 28, told City News Service she did not know what prompted Atkins to shoot their grandmother, but Egland said her grandmother did not want Atkins' girlfriend in her home in the 1600 block of East 32nd Street in South Los Angeles, causing friction in the household.

Egland said a family dispute erupted about 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

According to Egland, at one point, the 78-year-old grandmother went outside to bring her daughter, the suspect's aunt, a glass of water.

“(Atkins then) went in his room and grabbed a gun and shot her,” Egland told City News, acknowledging that she saw a gun hidden under one of Atkins' pillows on Friday.

Egland said Atkins fired several shots before he forced his wounded girlfriend into the grandmother's 2015 Toyota Camry sedan and fled.

LAPD Chief Michel Moore said the grandmother was taken in grave condition to a hospital, where she underwent surgery.

Her condition later was upgraded to critical, Moore said.

Using a LoJack system, police traced the vehicle to the Hollywood area and gave chase, leading to Silver Lake, where Atkins crashed the Toyota into a power pole around 3:30 p.m. in front of the Trader Joe's supermarket in the 2700 block of Hyperion Avenue, Moore said.

Atkins opened fire at police, who returned fire, leaving the rear window of the Toyota shattered.

Atkins got out of the car and ran into the store, firing toward officers as he ran.

Moore said about 40 people were in the store when Atkins.entered.

A short time after he entered, a woman now known to be Melyda Corado was being dragged away from the store's entryway and then unsuccessfully treated by paramedics trying to revive her.

The circumstances of the woman's death were still unclear. It was not immediately known where the woman was when she was shot or who shot her, Moore said.

As Atkins entered the store, employees and customers inside scrambled for cover.

Some were seen escaping through a window toward the rear of the business and crawling down a ladder to safety.

Police were seen carrying several children away from the building.

Atkins' girlfriend, who had been in the passenger seat of the Toyota when it crashed in front of the store, was taken to a hospital in fair condition. Fire officials described her as a 20-year-old woman.

Police amassed outside the store, and around 5:30 p.m., at least three people who appeared to be customers came out of the store with their hands in the air -- apparently hostages who were released or shoppers who had managed to elude the gunman.

As the standoff unfolded, the LAPD went on a citywide tactical alert, keeping all available officers on duty beyond their shifts to ensure enough personnel were available to respond to the barricade situation.

Atkins surrendered at about 6:30 p.m., walking out of the store with a group of hostages. He held his hands in the air and quickly dropped to his knees as SWAT officers surrounded him and took him into custody.

Atkins was treated for a gunshot injury to his left arm.

Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire Department said paramedics treated 10 people at the scene of the Trader Joe's, including Atkins, his girlfriend and Melyda Corado.

A 12-year-old boy, a 41-year-old woman, a 70-year-old woman and an 81- year-old woman were hospitalized with minor injuries and listed in fair condition, Stewart said.

Three other people were evaluated, but declined to be taken to hospitals.

In the predawn hours today, the grandmother's car was towed away for evidence.

Cars left at Trader Joe's in the wake of the shooting can be picked up by meeting with Trader Joe's security 24 hours a day and providing proof of ownership. Personal property can be retrieved starting Monday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the store, the LAPD said.

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