Melyda Corado: Trader Joe’s Employee Killed By LAPD Gunfire in 2018
September 6, 2021 ~ By Shari Rose
After an armed gunman ran into Trader Joe’s, LAPD officers fired shots into the grocery store, killing Corado
On July 21, 2018, two LAPD officers received a call that a man named Gene Atkins had shot his grandmother and escaped the scene in her car. Police found his car on the road and began pursuing. Atkins drove erratically and shot multiple times from his car, though he did not hit anyone.
Atkins crashed his car in front of Trader Joe’s in Silver Lake. He jumped out and ran for the entrance, firing shots at police. The officers, Sinlen Tse and Sarah Winans, both fired back.
Melyda Corado, 27, and other employees at the store heard the crash. Corado ran toward the front of the store, during which she was struck by LAPD gunfire. Police say that neither their body cams nor their dash cameras caught Melyda being shot.
Atkins then took several hostages, and eventually agreed to let Corado be taken out of the store to be treated for the gunshot wound. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Atkins was arrested about an hour later.
Los Angeles DA’s office clears Sinlen Tse of wrongdoing in Corado’s death
Melyda Corado’s family filed a wrongful death suit against the LAPD after her death. A trove of documents related to the killing, including autopsy and officer statements, was ordered for released by a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge in June 2019. However, it took over a year after that ruling for the LAPD to finally release a report into Corado’s killing.
The report identified Sinlen Tse as the officer who killed Corado. However, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office blamed Atkins for Corado’s death, and not the person who fired the bullet:
“We conclude that Corado was killed due to Atkins’ provocative act resulting in the officers’ responding to Atkins use of deadly force and therefore Atkins of criminally responsible for Corado’s death.”
Two years after the Trader Joe’s police shooting, Corado’s family led an anti-police violence protest through Silver Lake. A couple hundred people joined in and demanded justice in Corado’s death.
As of the publishing of this article, it does not appear that Tse faced any consequences for killing an innocent bystander.
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This story about Melyda Corado is part of a larger project that looks at recent police shootings of Latinos in Los Angeles.
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