STUDIO CITY (CBSLA) — The Los Angeles Police Dept. has identified the two officers who accidentally shot in the direction of a crowded Trader Joe’s in Silver Lake during a firefight with a suspected gunman last Saturday, resulting in the death of store manager Melyda “Mely” Corado.
Officers Sinlen Tse and Sarah Winans were named in the late Friday LAPD press release.
Tse and Winans were involved in the pursuit that led to the shootout at the Silver Lake Trader Joe’s on the afternoon of July 21. According to police, Gene Atkins, 28, allegedly shot his grandmother and girlfriend at the family’s home on East 32nd Street in South L.A. around 1:30 p.m. Atkins then fled northbound, after which the vehicle he was driving was tracked via LoJack in the Hollywood area after 3 p.m.
Atkins then led Tse and Winans on a pursuit that ended when he crashed into a pole outside the Trader Joe’s on the 2700 block of Hyperion Avenue. Atkins is said to have shot at officers during the chase and continued to shoot at them once he ran into the store, the press release states.
The officers shot back at Atkins as they sought cover just behind a north wall abutting the store’s parking lot. During the shootout, store manager Melyda “Mely” Corado was hit by a bullet shot by police as she attempted to run away from the store, the department said in the days following the incident.
The LAPD did not say which officer’s bullet struck Corado.
Police attempted to revive the 27-year-old woman but she died at the scene, police said.
“The two Los Angeles police officers who had been pursuing Atkins returned fire in defense of their lives and to protect Atkins from harming other individuals,” Chief Michel Moore told reporters last week.
Atkins was shot in his left forearm and barricaded himself inside the store with several hostages inside. After a three-hour standoff, Atkins allowed himself to be handcuffed and was taken into custody. He faces 30 charges, including one count of murder, six counts of attempted murder, 13 counts of false imprisonment of hostages and one count of felony evading. His arraignment was postponed for August 14, and he is being held on $18.7 million bail.
Since Atkins caused the shootout, he is being charged with Corado’s murder despite not having shot her.
The community of Silver Lake has come together to honor the life of Melyda Corado, who was described by family members and coworkers as a loving person who liked to make people laugh. Several vigils have been held for Corado at the store, which is still lined with hundreds of flowers and letters to Corado.
The family released the following statement thanking the community:
“On behalf of the Corado family, we would like to thank family, friends, our Trader Joe’s family, the Silver Lake community, and people all over the nation for their overwhelming love and support during this immensely difficult time. We will never heal from this senseless tragedy, but everyone’s thoughts and prayers are helping us cope with this insurmountable loss.”
The family also announced Corado’s funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Sunday, July 29 at Forest Hills Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills. The service will be open to the public.
The Los Angeles Times editorial board applauded the LAPD’s “welcome bit of transparency” in the shooting’s aftermath, while some have questioned the officers’ decision to shoot at a moving target from a considerable distance towards a crowded grocery store.