A 27-year old woman killed in a shootout at a California Trader Joe’s was struck by Los Angeles Police Department gunfire, Chief Michael Moore said Tuesday.
Assistant Manager Melyda Corado was leaving the Trader Joe’s when suspect Gene Atkins ran into the store, firing at police. Two officers returned fire. One of those bullets struck Ms. Corado, Chief Moore said, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.
“On behalf of myself and the rest of the Department, I want to express my deepest condolences and sympathy to her family and everyone that knew her,” Chief Moore said, according to the report. “I know that it’s every officer’s worst nightmare to hurt an innocent bystander during a violent engagement. I spoke with the officers this morning — they’re devastated. They were devastated in the immediate aftermath of this event.”
Police say Mr. Atkins had shot his grandmother at her house earlier and then led them on a chase through Hollywood and Silver Lake. He crashed his car into a telephone pole next to the store and exchanged gunfire with police.
Chief Moore said Ms. Corado ran back into the store after being hit and collapsed behind the manager’s desk, the Los Angeles Times reported. An investigation is currently ongoing to determine if the officers will face any consequences for the shooting.
But Chief Moore said he believed the officers’ actions were justified, saying “it’s what they needed to do in order to defend the people of Los Angeles,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
Mr. Atkins is currently being held on $9 million bail and faces murder, attempted murder and kidnapping charges.
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