Gene Evin Atkins, 28, was being held Sunday morning on $2 million bail.
C. WEBER | MICHAEL BALSAMO
California, US.- A gunman who got into a deadly shootout with police, then took dozens of people hostage at a Los Angeles supermarket has been arrested on suspicion of murder, authorities said Sunday. Gene Evin Atkins, 28, was being held Sunday morning on $2 million bail, according to Officer Drake Madison, a Los Angeles police spokesman.
It wasn’t clear if he had an attorney and a message left at a number listed for Atkins in public records wasn’t immediately returned. A woman was shot and killed when Atkins ran into the Trader Joe’s supermarket in Los Angeles’ Silver Lake section on Saturday, but no hostages were seriously hurt before the man handcuffed himself and surrendered about three hours later, police said.
Coroner’s officials identified the woman Sunday as 27-yearold Melyda Corado. Her brother, Albert Corado, said on Twitter that she worked at Trader Joe’s. “I’m sad to say she didn’t make it. My baby sister. My world,” he tweeted. Investigators have not confirmed if her death sparked Atkins’ arrest on a murder charge.
Atkins’ grandmother was hospitalized in critical condition after the shooting and police had no update on her condition Sunday. Authorities said Atkins shot his grandmother seven times and wounded another woman, whom he forced into a car, at a South Los Angeles home around 1:30 p.m., police said. Officers tracked the car, gave chase and exchanged gunfire with the man, who crashed into a pole outside the supermarket and then ran inside, they said.
The unidentified woman, who suffered a graze wound earlier, was taken out of the car by police. Frightened customers and workers dove for cover as police bullets fired at the man shattered the store’s glass doors. Some people inside the supermarket climbed out windows, and others barricaded themselves in rooms as scores of police officers and firefighters and 18 ambulances converged on the scene and prepared for mass casualties.
Heavily armed officers in riot gear stood along the side of the store and used mirrors to look inside as hostage negotiators tried to coax the man into freeing his 40 to 50 hostages and surrendering. At around 6:30 p.m., Atkins agreed to handcuff himself and walked out the front door, surrounded by four of the hostages. He was immediately taken into custody.
Mayor Eric Garcetti congratulated police and firefighters for their work and mourned the loss of life at the Trader Joe’s, where he and his wife regularly shopped when they lived in the neighborhood. “The heroism that was shown today was second to none, and the teams that were able to respond, secure the perimeter and engage in conversation with the suspect no doubt saved lives today,” he said.