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

Kenney talks pipelines with Trudeau after election win, calls it cordial

Almost a year ago Kenney dismissed Trudeau as a dilettante and a lightweight

ELECTION DAY: Lacombe-Ponoka heads to the polls

Voters came out to the Lacombe Memorial Centre to pick the next MLA of Lacombe-Ponoka

‘Open for business:’ Jason Kenney’s UCP wins majority in Alberta election

The UCP was leading or elected in 63 of 87 seats Tuesday night

Kirkland Signature veggie burgers recalled due to possible metal fragments

Recalled products came in 1.7 kg packages with a best before date of Apr. 23, 2019

Parents of 13 who tortured children get life after hearing victims

One of their daughters fled their home and pleaded for help to a 911 operator

Flooding, climate change force Quebecers to rethink relationship with water

Compensation for victims of recurring floods limit to 50% of a home’s value, or a maximum of $100,000

Storms blast South, where tornadoes threaten several states

9.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia at a moderate risk of severe weather

Private cargo ship brings Easter feast to the space station

There are three Americans two Russians and one Canadian living on the space station

Notre Dame rector: “Computer glitch” possible fire culprit

The fire burned through the lattice of oak beams supporting the monument’s vaulted stone ceiling

Undercover cops don’t need warrant to email, text suspected child lurers: court

High court decision came Thursday in the case of Sean Patrick Mills of Newfoundland

VIDEO: Trump tried to seize control of Mueller probe, report says

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report revealed to a waiting nation Thursday

Most Read