Los Angeles

Trader Joe's Hostage Suspect Faces Series of Charges, Including Murder

A 28-year-old suspect faces murder charges following the standoff at the busy Silver Lake store

A 28-year-old South Los Angeles man faces charges of murder, attempted murder and kidnapping in the deadly weekend shootout and standoff with police at a Silver Lake Trader Joe's.

Gene Evin Atkins allegedly got into a shootout with police at the market Saturday in the 2700 block of Hyperion Avenue. The shootout claimed the life of store assistant manager Melyda Corado, 27.

The bullets that killed Corado were fired by one of two LAPD officers during the gunbattle, said LAPD Chief Michel Moore.

Even though police gunfire killed Corado, Atkins faces a murder charge based on a so-called provocative act theory of murder. That theory says a the defendant's criminal acts set into motion a situation where the natural and probable consequences of the defendant's criminal acts were dangerous to human life and a third party, in response to those acts, responded with deadly force, prosecutors said.

Other charges he faces are: kidnapping, fleeing a pursuing peace officer's motor vehicle while driving recklessly, grand theft of an automobile, driving or taking a vehicle without consent, discharge of a firearm with gross negligence, shooting at an occupied motor vehicle, and assault with a firearm, prosecutors said.

Before the shootout, Atkins allegedly shot and wounded his 76-year-old grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Madison, and 17-year-old girlfriend in the home they shared in the 1600 block of East 32nd Street.

The suspect then allegedly led police on a chase, ending at the store. Atkins' girlfriend, who was wounded in the shooting, was in the passenger seat of the car when it crashed into a pole in front of the store. She was taken to a hospital in fair condition.

Deshon Hayward said in a statement Monday said that Madison "is doing good and is in good spirits."

"She has a long journey ahead but everything is looking good," he said. "We would like to send our deepest condolences to everyone that was affected by this horrible tragedy."

Atkins' cousin, Charleo Egland, said she didn't know exactly what prompted the shooting, but said the grandmother did not want Atkins' girlfriend in the home, and that likely led to a fight that ended with the shooting.

Atkins surrendered at 6:30 p.m., three hours after the shootout. He was treated for a gunshot wound to his arm at a hospital before he was booked into custody.

In a statement Tuesday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said he met with Corado's father on Saturday to share in the sorrow over his daughter's death.

"He has my commitment to a thorough investigation and helping the family in any way possible — as they take those first, enormously difficult steps toward coping with the trauma of losing such a vibrant, compassionate young woman who was loved by so many."

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