LOS FELIZ—A hearing for Gene Evin Atkins, 29, is set to begin on Wednesday, September 3 to decide if he will stand trial for the murder of Trader Joe’s assistant store manager, Melyda Corada and various other charges from a barricade and gun battle with police in July 2018.
Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore confirmed that the bullet that killed Corado was fired by a police officer, not Atkins, who surrendered to SWAT officers after negotiations with authorities while he kept hostages inside the supermarket.
While Atkins did not directly shoot Corado, authorities charged him with killing Corado under the theory that he set off the chain of events that led to her death. According to Moore, there was enough forensic evidence, video surveillance footage, and witness statements to move forward with the murder charge.
He was charged with a total of 51 counts including murder, attempted murder, attempted murder of a peace officer, assault on a peace officer with a semiautomatic firearm, kidnapping, fleeing a pursuing peace officer’s motor vehicle while driving recklessly, grand theft of an automobile, discharge of a firearm with gross negligence, shooting at an occupied motor vehicle, false imprisonment of a hostage and mayhem.
During the press conference, Moore stated that Atkins fired additional rounds at police from inside the store, but officers did not return fire to ensure the safety of the hostages in the establishment and to protect themselves.
He barricaded himself in the supermarket after shooting two women, one who was identified as his grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Madison, and the other his girlfriend at the time. Atkins stole his grandmother’s car and was chased by authorities before crashing the vehicle into a pole outside the Trader Joe’s store.
The family of Melyda Corado issued a plea to authorities to release the footage, which has not been released. An excessive force lawsuit that was filed against two officers with the LAPD and the city of Los Angeles by Corado’s family is still ongoing.
Her brother, Albert Corado, tweeted: “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.”
Albert tweeted on July 22, 2018: “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.”
Written By Olivia Gonzalez-Britt and Casey Jacobs