A suspect is arrested after evading police and holding people hostage at a Trader Joe’s supermarket, Saturday, July 21, 2018, in Los Angeles. (Christian Monterosa via AP)

Deadly L.A. market shooting started with domestic feud

A domestic incident ended after a car crashed into a pole outside Trader Joe’s market

A man’s feud with his grandmother turned into a bizarre and deadly confrontation that ended with a supermarket worker dead and dozens of people held hostage in a store miles away.

Gene Evin Atkins, 28, was booked Sunday on suspicion of murder after an explosion of violence that a relative said may have been brewing for weeks.

Melyda Corado, 27, was shot to death Saturday at a Trader Joe’s market in the Silver Lake neighbourhood after a gunfight that shattered the store’s glass doors, witnesses said.

“I’m sad to say she didn’t make it. My baby sister. My world,” her brother, Albert Corado said on Twitter.

RELATED: Feds looking at ways to tackle wave of gun violence in Toronto: Minister

On Sunday, grieving family members, co-workers and customers remembered Corado as lively, hardworking and always smiling. A makeshift memorial of flowers, candles and notes grew on the sidewalk outside of the store.

“Yesterday marks the saddest day in Trader Joe’s history as we mourn the loss of one our own,” company spokeswoman Kenya Friend-Daniel said in a statement.

The violence began when Atkins shot his 76-year-old grandmother several times at their South Los Angeles home after she complained about his having too many television sets on, said a cousin, Charlene Egland.

Mary Elizabeth Madison was taken to a hospital in critical condition but Egland said she underwent surgery and was improving Sunday.

Madison raised Atkins from the age of 7 and he had never been violent toward her but recently had seemed upset and distant, Egland said.

“He didn’t seem right to me,” Egland said.

For the past two or three weeks, the two had argued over Atkins’ girlfriend, who was staying at their home, Egland said.

“She didn’t want the girl over there anymore,” Egland said.

Egland said she was walking toward the house when she heard about six gunshots. Another cousin, who lives in the house, came running from the porch and shouted to Egland, “I think Gene shot my mama!”

Police said Atkins’ girlfriend was grazed in the head by a bullet, but the injury is not life threatening.

RELATED: Car thief nabbed by Mounties on wildfire duty

Egland ran to call 911 but Atkins allegedly forced his wounded girlfriend into his grandmother’s car and drove away.

A stolen-car device helped police track the car to Hollywood but Atkins refused to pull over, police said.

During the chase, Atkins fired at officers, blowing out the car’s back window, and there was more shooting before the car crashed into a pole outside the Trader Joe’s, followed by another shootout with police, Police Chief Michel Moore said.

Customers and employees frantically dove for cover and barricaded themselves inside storerooms and bathrooms as bullets flew.

Glass fragments injured a 22-year-old woman who later took herself to a hospital for treatment, police said.

As he heard gunfire, Sean Gerace, who was working in the back of the supermarket, grabbed several of his co-workers and the group made their way into an upstairs storage area. He grabbed a folding ladder and tossed it out a window, helping his colleagues escape to safety, he told KNBC-TV.

“I grabbed an emergency ladder, barricaded the hallway, grabbed a weapon, put the ladder out the window and just tried to get the attention of the SWAT officer,” Gerace told the television station.

About three hours later, Atkins — who’d been shot in the left arm — agreed to handcuff himself and walked out the front door, surrounded by four of the hostages. He was being held on $2 million bail Sunday and it wasn’t clear if he had an attorney to comment on the allegations.

A gun was found inside the store, police said.

Trader Joe’s said the store — known by customers as a neighbourhood hangout with great customer service — would remain closed for the foreseeable future.

Atkins, who has two daughters, bounced between several jobs, including working as a security guard, but had been repeatedly fired, Egland said. His grandmother had tried to help him find employment and “was just trying to make him do better,” she said.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Monster Truck action returns to the Okanagan for a second night

From 6 until 7 p.m. you can meet the drivers and get a close up look at the trucks

Second osprey chick dies, Okanagan web cam off

The second chick in an osprey nest featured on the Town of Osoyoos website has died

Fire department helps with body recovery in Okanagan Lake

Penticton fire department assisted the RCMP with the recovery of a body Saturday

Police on scene at Skaha Lake

RCMP were at a what is believed to be a crime scene near Skaha Beach Sunday

Penticton student crowned Miss Teen B.C. Interior

Grade 12 student at Penticton Secondary School previously went through Miss Penticton program

July showers wash out half of the Okanagan’s cherry crop

Cherry growers say this is the worst season they’ve seen in decades

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

Water quality makes swimming unsafe at three beaches near Salmon Arm

The Adams Lake Indian Band has issued a water qulity notice affecting beaches at three campgrounds.

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

Community service ordered for Princeton man who stole from firefighters

A young man who stole food and money from the Princeton Volunteer… Continue reading

Okanagan rainbow crosswalk defaced

Vandals cover colours with white paint in District of Coldstream sometime overnight Saturday

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Most Read