The woman killed in a gun battle at a Los Angeles Trader Joe’s Saturday was the store’s manager, a law enforcement source said.
Family members identified the woman as Melyda Corado.
Corado was shot inside the store and died at the scene, authorities said.
The ordeal began as a family dispute in South Los Angeles involving Gene Atkins according to Officer Drake Madison, a Los Angeles Police Department spokesman. Atkins allegedly shot his grandmother at least seven times and injured another woman, according to police.
Atkins is being held in lieu of $2 million bail on suspicion of murder.
The gunman dragged the second woman into his grandmother’s car and fled.
Police found the car in Hollywood using transmissions from its anti-theft device, and a chase ensued. The gunman blew out the car’s his rear window while firing at police, officials said. The pursuit ended with the car crashing into a light post outside the Trader Joe’s in the Silver Lake neighborhood.
The gunman exchanged fire with police and was struck in his left arm before running inside the store, police said.
Between 40 and 50 others were trapped inside, and a three-hour hostage negotiation ensued. During that time, the suspect allowed some to leave while others sneaked out. Some crawled out of windows.
The grandmother was in critical condition after undergoing surgery, according to Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore. The second woman injured by the gunman suffered a relatively minor head wound and was in good condition, he said.
Don Kohles was outside the store when he saw the end of the pursuit.
Immediately, he heard two shots and ducked through the exit door. He looked back at the street and saw two police officers shooting at the man.
“The bullets were flying everywhere through the front of the store and across the parking lot,” he said.
The gunfire shattered the glass doors, he said, and the gunman ran into the store and “down the middle aisle.”
A woman at a supermarket across the street said people inside heard the gunfire and that everyone dived to the floor. She said employees eventually let shoppers out.
Condolences for Corado spread in the neighborhood and on social media.
“I worked with her for years. I am so so so sorry. Such a lovely, sweet, friendly, hardworking woman. I was thinking about her the whole time, and it’s just incomprehensible,” one former Trader Joe’s employee wrote on Twitter.
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