Police have identified a suspect behind a standoff at a Trader Joe’s in Los Angeles as Gene Evin Atkins, who has since been arrested on suspicion of murder and is being held in lieu of $2 million bail. In addition to the standoff, in which dozens of people were held hostage, with at least one person losing their life in the incident, Atkins is alleged to have shot his grandmother earlier in the day.
On Twitter, reporter Cooper Rummell issued the following statement, identifying Atkins as the suspect:
“@LAPDHQ says Gene Evin Atkins (28), suspect in #SilverLake #TraderJoesLA hostage standoff, has been booked on suspicion of murder. Bail set at $2M. @KNX1070”
A woman was shot and killed when the suspect ran into the Trader Joe’s supermarket in the Silver Lake area this past Saturday, but the other hostages were not seriously hurt before the man handcuffed himself and surrendered around three hours later. According to the Los Feliz Ledger, Atkins is also believed to have shot his grandmother and his girlfriend before the hostage situation took place.
The victim who lost her life was identified as Melyda Corado, believed to be a store employee; her brother, Albert Corado wrote the following on Twitter:
“I’m sad to say she didn’t make it. My baby sister. My world. I appreciate the retweets and the love. Please respect my family’s privacy as we are still coming to terms with this. #TraderJoes #SilverLake”
According to ABC News Go, Trader Joe’s issued the following statement concerning the standoff:
“Our hearts are broken over what happened today.”
“This has been an incredible trauma, and our thoughts are with our Crew Members and customers. Our focus is on doing whatever we can to support them at this time. We appreciate everything Los Angeles law enforcement did to ensure an end to this ordeal.”
UPDATE: According to ABC 7, police have confirmed that the Trader Joe’s store manager who was killed, identified as Melyda Marciela Corado, was actually shot by police gunfire. Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore has issued the following statement concerning the development:
“I’m sorry to report that we’ve now determined through our forensic investigation that one of the officers’ rounds struck Ms. Corado as she was exiting the market and was in close proximity to Atkins…Ms. Corado ran back into the store and collapsed behind the manager’s desk.”
“I know it is every officer’s worst nightmare to harm an innocent bystander during a violent engagement. I spoke with both these officers this morning. They’re devastated.”
“However, from the information I’ve been provided to this point, I believe my officers’ actions were taken to defend themselves and in direct response to the deadly threat posed by Atkins.”
“As chief of police, I believe it’s what they needed to do in order to defend the people of Los Angeles and to defend the people in that store and to defend themselves.”
According to Moore, more information concerning the officer who shot Corado will be released at a later date.
Trader Joe’s has also issued the following statement:
“We remain heartbroken over the tragic death of Melyda Corado and the trauma our Crew Members and customers have suffered. Mely was a valued and beloved Crew Member. Our sole focus remains on supporting her family and those involved in Saturday’s horrible ordeal in Silver Lake. Out of respect for them, we will not be providing further comment on today’s developments, but do want to again express our appreciation for the overwhelming outpouring of support from customers and Crew Members across the country. The Silver Lake store will remain closed until further notice, to give those involved time to begin to work through what they’ve experienced and to allow us the opportunity to prepare the store for their return.”
Who is Gene Evin Atkins?
As mentioned above, Gene Evin Atkins was 28 during the time of the incident and has been described as an African American male.
Prior to the standoff, Atkins was believed to have shot his grandmother and his girlfriend in a domestic dispute. According to the Los Feliz Ledger, during the standoff, it was believed that Atkins tried to contact his family to find updates concerning his grandmother.
Since the standoff, Atkins has since been placed in police custody, was arrested on suspicion of murder and is currently being held in lieu of $2 million bail
As this story is developing, more information will be released as it is made available.