CALIF. SUPERMARKET STANDOFF Chief: Police, not gunman, fired fatal shot at store
A supermarket worker was killed by a bullet fired by LA police – not the gunman they were trying to stop – the city’s police chief acknowledged Tuesday, defending the decision to use deadly force as an attempt to stop what officers feared could become a mass shooting.
The suspect, Gene Evin Atkins, 28, already had shot his grandmother, kidnapped his girlfriend and shot at officers Saturday afternoon as they chased his car and then as he ran into the Trader Joe’s in the city’s congested Silver Lake neighborhood, according to police.
After exchanging gunfire with police, Atkins ran into the store and took about 40 people hostage, police said.
Police released several minutes of body camera and dash-cam video that showed Atkins leading officers on the high-speed chase – during which officers say he’s shooting at them – before he crashed into a pole outside the market.
In deciding whether to open fire, officers had to consider whether the gunman was likely to harm the scores of shoppers and workers inside, police Chief Michel Moore said.
As police chased the gunman after the car crash, one officer is heard on video saying she had pulled out her gun, but her partner tells her not to shoot.
However, two officers did fire back at Atkins just as the store’s assistant manager, Melyda Corado, 27, was walking out the door. One of the rounds went through her arm and into her body and she died at the scene, Moore said.