LOS FELIZ—On November 30, the Justice System Integrity Division of Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office issued a public statement noting that the officer-involved shooting that resulted in the death of a Trader Joe’s manager in July 2018 ruled the Los Angeles Police Department was “justified in using deadly force in an attempt to stop” the suspect, Gene Evin Atkins, 28.
Melyda Corado, 27, was accidentally killed during a shootout outside the store. Los Angeles Police Officers Sinlen Tse and Sarah Winans indicated they had no other choice, but to open fire on Atkins.
“I had no alternative but to fire my weapon at Gene Atkins in order to stop this deadly threat that he, himself, had created,” Tse said. “I fired based upon his actions and stopped when I realized he was moving into the Trader Joe’s entrance to avoid striking individuals inside, despite the fact that he was still considered a violent fleeing felon and continued to pose an imminent threat of serious/great bodily injury and/or death while inside Trader Joe’s.”
When officers fired at Atkins, there were no bystanders visible behind him or in the line of fire. Evidence supports the conclusion that Corado was accidentally struck by gunfire when she ran towards the front doors. Tse and Winans fired their weapons in self-defense to stop a violent man from entering a grocery stores filled with shoppers, the LADA’s Office notes in its report.
Officer Tse was aware later that one of five shots he made mistakenly struck Corado, according to his declaration.
“My heart goes out to her family for their tragic loss,” Tse stated.
Atkins was knowledgeable of Corados injuries for nearly 20 minutes and did “absolutely nothing.”
Prior to the shootout, Tse and Winans first began to pursue Atkins after he allegedly shot and wounded his grandmother at her South Los Angeles home. Atkins was pursued by LAPD for 15 minutes before fleeing his vehicle after striking an electric pole located at 2738 Hyperion Avenue located across the street from the Trader Joe’s. He was charged for the death of Corado along with 50 other counts.
“Tse and Winans acted in lawful self-defense, defense of others, and in pursuit of a dangerous fleeing felon when they used deadly force against Atkins. Furthermore we conclude that Corado was killed due to Atkins’ provocation act resulting in the officers’ responding to Atkins use of deadly force and therefore Atkins is criminally respond for Corado’s death,” states the Memorandum from the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office.