Suspect in Silver Lake Trader Joe's Police Shootout Identified by Authorities

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Authorities have identified Los Angeles resident, Gene Atkins, as the suspect behind a wild car chase and shootout with LAPD police officers that left one woman dead and two others wounded in the aftermath of a chaotic Saturday afternoon that ended at a Trader Joe's store in Silver Lake.

Atkins, 28, was being held by authorities on Sunday morning on suspicion of murder in lieu of potentially being released on bail set at $2 million, according to Officer Drake Madison, a Los Angeles Police Department spokesman.

The rampage on Saturday started when Atkins was involved in a domestic dispute with his grandmother at a residence in South Los Angeles.

Atkins and his grandmother got into an argument over a woman who was also present at the residence, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said, adding, that investigators had not yet determined the relationship between the woman and Atkins.

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At some point during the argument, Atkins allegedly shot his grandmother multiple times and then took the unidentified woman hostage, authorities said.

On Saturday, Newsweek observed police officers questioning an unidentified woman in connection with the shooting. It is unknown at this time if the woman Atkins allegedly took hostage is the same woman observed by Newsweek being questioned by LAPD police officers.

Chief Moore said Sunday that the unidentified woman suffered a head injury during the altercation, but it was not clear if the woman suffered a gunshot wound or was injured by pistol-whip. As of Saturday, Moore told reporters that she was in good condition.

At some point after the shooting, Atkins allegedly jumped into a Toyota Camry and led police on a wild chase through the streets of Los Angeles after officers located the suspect's car in Hollywood using transmissions from the Camry's anti-theft device.

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Officials said the gunman blew out his own rear window while firing at police officers during the chase.

Outside the Trader Joe's in Silver Lake, Miguel Trujillo, 27, was walking by the shopping complex that houses the store when he saw the police chase coming towards him.

"It all happened pretty quickly," Trujillo told Newsweek who saw Atkins' crash his Camry into a light pole outside the Trader Joe's store.

"I was calm and at peace, but it all changed when I saw the gun," Trujillo said, describing how he immediately felt a physical gut wrench within his stomach, signaling that things were about to get worse.

Trujillo says he took cover near a car with another man who had just pulled up to the Trader Joe's with his wife and child as gunfire erupted between Atkins and LAPD police officers.

"I saw him shooting at the cops, and the cops were simultaneously shooting back and while all this was occurring he was running into Trader Joe's," Trujillo said, adding that the gunman was not shooting frantically, but specifically firing upon police officers.

Atkins was shot in his left arm during the fire fight with police officers before running inside, authorities said.

Trujillo would eventually make a break for a dry cleaning store near the Trader Joe's for shelter as Atkins took hostages inside the grocery store.

Relatives on social media identified Melyda Corado, a manager at the Trader Joe's in Silver Lake, as the woman who was killed on Saturday.

Albert Corado, Melyda's brother, took to Twitter asking for help in locating his sister after Atkins crashed his Toyota Camry and took hostages inside the Trader Joe's store.

Hours later, Corado reported on Twitter that, "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."

Chief Moore told reporters Sunday that the victim seems to have been killed when exiting the Trader Joe's store located on Hyperion Ave., during the shootout, adding, that it is unknown at this time whether the fatal gunshot that killed Corado was fired by Atkins or by a police officer.

LAPD police officers quickly set up a 600 foot perimeter surrounding the Trader Joe's as SWAT teams and emergency management vehicles swarmed into the area. An LAPD helicopter circled the area from above.

Trader Joe shoppers and employees were trapped inside with the lone gunman as some began to sneak out of the store, some crawling out of windows to escape.

Newsweek confirmed that Devin Field, a stand-up comedian and writer for Jimmy Kimmel Live, was among the shoppers trapped inside. He reported that a former U.S. Marine that worked at Trader Joe's was helping people escape to safety.

Atkins eventually allowed some of the hostages to leave as he continued to pace inside the store—shouting obscenities as blood continued to pour out of his left arm as terrified pedestrians hid in bathrooms, behind food displays and in back-room freezers as far away from the gunman as possible.

After an intense three-hour stand-off, Atkins surrendered to police. Chief Moore told reporters that he is expected to survive his injuries.

Once the adrenaline slowed down and Trujillo was finally able to be released from the dry cleaning store where he sought refuge, he began to fully process what had unfolded.

"It all came to the surface, I started feeling the fear. I could feel it running through me, it really hit me," Trujillo told Newsweek. "It was a complete feeling of fear, that I was under threat, that I was in danger, that I was stuck—so that's what happened."

The Los Angeles County coroner arrived on scene around 6:30 p.m., departing the scene approximately an hour later. As of Sunday morning, the area was still being processed by investigators, but residents were allowed to retrieve their vehicles that were left behind.

As of Saturday, Atkins' grandmother was in critical condition after undergoing surgery, saying, "She's not out of the woods just yet."

On Sunday, Corado, the brother of the woman killed, wrote on Twitter, "I miss my sister. I wish this wasn't happening. Feels good to be with family, though. My dad is doing his best to keep it together. I am, too. Family is coming to visit from as far away as Australia. #MelydaCorado you were immensely loved."

Suspect in Silver Lake Trader Joe's Police Shootout Identified by Authorities | U.S.