July 22 (UPI) — A 28-year-old man has been identified as the suspect who opened fire and held hostages at a Trader Joe’s in Los Angeles after a shooting at his grandmother’s house and a police chase. A store manager died during the gunfire.
The Los Angeles Police Department identified the suspect as Gene Evin Atkins, whose bail was set at $2 million Sunday, one day after the incident, on suspicion of murder.
After a tense four-hour stand-off Saturday, Los Angeles police tweeted: “We have successfully taken the suspect into custody without incident.”
Store manager Melyda Corado was shot in the Trader Joe’s and died at the scene, according to the Los Angeles Times.
At approximately 6:40 p.m. in the Silver Lake section of the city, five hostages departed with the suspect in handcuffs. Originally 40 to 50 others were inside the store.
Police said Atkins shot his grandmother seven times and a younger woman earlier in the day elsewhere. The grandmother was listed in critical condition.
Around 1:30 p.m., police spotted the suspect driving his grandmother’s car in the Hollywood area and a pursuit began.
A 20-year-old woman, who was dragged into his grandmother’s Toyota Camry, was taken to the hospital in fair condition after being removed from vehicle when it crashed into a police, a Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman said.
The suspect “jumped out of the car, and it looked like he shot some rounds off when he got out of the car,” Dan Zito, who said he was only feet away from the crash, said to KNBC-TV. “And (the police) returned some fire at him, but he ran straight in [to the Trader Joe’s].”
Aerial video showed officers carrying a injured person of the store and carrying children out from the store to safety. Other videos showed an employee dragging a person out of the store and employees escaping on a rope ladder outside a window.
Five store shooting victims, including a 12-year-old boy, were transported to a hospital. They all were listed in “fair” condition.
Lynne Westafer, a KCBS-TV news producer, was one of those people inside the store. The visibly upset suspect asked to speak to his “granny” several times.
“He did not seem high on drugs, to me,” Westafer said. “He was shot, and there was a woman who […] really worked to try to keep him calm and sort of, almost advocate on his behalf.
“He seemed like he might have been in shock, actually, ’cause he was very cold, and they kept giving him, you know, sweatshirts and things like that.”
Shoppers described on social media the scene of gunfire, saying people were running for cover and hiding as the gunman ran into the store.
One shopper, who sought cover behind a wall, said a man opened fire and officers fired back.