LOS ANGELES (CNS) — A man accused of engaging in a gunfight with Los Angeles police at a Silver Lake Trader Joe’s store, leading to the fatal shooting of the store’s assistant manager by an officer, was ordered today to stand trial on murder and other charges.
Gene Evin Atkins, 29, was scheduled to return to court in downtown Los Angeles Sept. 18 for arraignment. He is accused of setting off a chain of events on July 21, 2018, that led to the death of Melyda Maricela Corado, who was fatally shot by a police officer in front of the store in the 2700 block of Hyperion Avenue.
Atkins, who is jailed in lieu of $15.1 million bail, is facing 51 charges, including murder stemming from the death of Corado. He is also charged with attempted murder, attempted murder of a peace officer, assault on a peace officer with a semiautomatic firearm, kidnapping, fleeing a pursuing peace officer’s motor vehicle while driving recklessly, grand theft of an automobile, discharge of a firearm with gross negligence, shooting at an occupied motor vehicle, false imprisonment of a hostage and mayhem.
Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore confirmed last year that the bullet that killed Corado was fired by a police officer, not Atkins, who surrendered to SWAT officers after about three hours of negotiations following a standoff inside the store, where a number of customers and employees were allegedly held hostage.
Though he did not shoot Corado, Atkins is charged with her killing under the theory that he set off the chain of events that led to the 27-year-old woman’s death.
Atkins allegedly shot his 76-year-old grandmother and his 17-year-old girlfriend in South Los Angeles, then took his grandmother’s car and led police on a wild chase that ended when he crashed in front of the Silver Lake Trader Joe’s store. He allegedly fired shots at police during the chase, and again when he got out of the crashed car and fled into the store, holding customers and employees hostage inside before surrendering hours later.