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2018 Trader Joe's hostage incident

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The 2018 Trader Joe's hostage incident occurred in Los Angeles on July 21, when a suspect, fleeing the police, crashed and ran at 3:30 pm local time. Fears of a hostage situation arose.[1] Police were involved by 4:00 pm, and there were reports that the gunman opened fire.[2] A woman was killed during the standoff, as the 28-year-old suspect was arrested.[1]

The suspect's 76-year-old grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Madison, was shot seven times and was reported to be in critical condition; and another female hostage, the perpetrator's girlfriend, was shot but merely grazed by the bullet.[3][4]

Trader Joe's store employee Melyda Corado was shot and killed by a police bullet as suspect exchanged fire with police.[5][6] Two days after the shooting, it remained unclear whether she was inside or outside the store when she was shot, and unclear whether she was shot by a police bullet or by the gunman police where exchanging fire with.[7]


The shootings began on the evening of Friday, July 20, when Atkins' cousin spotted Atkins sleeping in his grandmother's home on 32nd Street near Long Beach Avenue with a gun under his pillow. According to Atkins' cousin, Charlene Egland, Atkins, who had lived with his grandmother since he was a young child, had been quarreling with his grandmother over his live-in girlfriend; the grandmother did not want her living in the home.[8] Atkins shot his grandmother and his girlfriend around 1:30 pm on July 21, a Saturday, then forced his girlfriend, who was bleeding from the gunshot wound, into his grandmother's car and drove off. Police traced his car to the Hollywood area and gave chase. He crashed his grandmother's Toyota into a power pole in Silver Lake in front of the Trader Joe's supermarket on Hyperion Avenue at 3:30 pm. Atkins emerged from the vehicle holding a handgun, and firing at the police. According to witnesses at the scene, Atkins fired at police officers at least twice. Corado, the manager of the Trader Joe's store was shot. There were between 40 and 50 people inside the grocery store.[9]

The store manager was shot as Atkins, who had emerged from his crashed car, fired at the police who were pursuing him as he ran towards the store. One of the bullets fired by an officer hit Corado, according to LAPD police chief Michel Moore.[10][11]

During the hostage crisis, police officers in riot gear standing outside the store used mirrors to watch as hostage negotiators persuaded Atkins to release the hostages and surrender. Around 6:30 pm, he agreed to handcuff himself, and was led from the building accompanied by four hostages to insure that he would not be shot. He was then taken into custody.[12]


The suspect was identified as Gene Evin Atkins, a 28-year-old African-American male. He had lived with his grandmother since he was 7 years old.[8] According to his cousin, Atkins had recently lost his job and two cars. Atkins had previously slashed the tires on his grandmother's car and broke the windows in the house. The cousin described him as having a history of mental health problems, and as a quiet man who had been despondent about his future. She quoted him as having said, "The next thing I do, I'm going to die doing it or I'm going to jail."[13]

He opened fire on the police, but no officers were reported injured.[1] The gunman was arrested, charged with murder, and is being held on $2 million bail.[14]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 CNN, Ralph Ellis and AnneClaire Stapleton,. "Woman killed inside Trader Joe's during standoff, Los Angeles mayor says".
  2. Mai-Duc, Richard Winton, Jack Dolan, Harriet Ryan, Christine. "Woman dead, man in custody after gun battle with police at Trader Joe's in Silver Lake". latimes.com.
  3. "Silver Lake Trader Joe's barricade: 1 dead, suspect in custody". July 21, 2018.
  4. CNN, Ralph Ellis and AnneClaire Stapleton,. "Woman killed inside Trader Joe's during standoff, Los Angeles mayor says".
  5. Chan, Stella; Yan, Holly. "Trader Joe's employee was killed by officer's bullet, LAPD says". CNN. Retrieved 24 July 2018.
  6. Ellis, Ralph (22 July 2018). "Woman killed inside Trader Joe's during standoff, Los Angeles mayor says". CNN. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  7. Cain, J. (23 July 2018). "Trader Joe's manager killed in Silver Lake barricade remembered as 'brilliant and kind'". Orange County Register. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Basalmo, Michael (22 July 2018). "Gunman in Trader Joe's standoff was feuding with grandmother". Washington Post. AP. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  9. "Silver Lake hostage suspect identified: Gene Evin Atkins, 28". Fox News. 22 July 2018. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  10. Serna, Joseph (24 July 2018). "LAPD officer fired bullet that killed Trader Joe's employee during weekend standoff, chief says". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 24 July 2018.
  11. Quelly, James; Doe, Ahn; Winton, Richard (22 July 2018). "Questions swirl over LAPD shootout with gunman that left a Trader Joe's store manager dead". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  12. "Suspected Gunman, Victim in LA Trader Joe's Shooting ID'd". NBC News 7 San Diego. 22 July 2018. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  13. Kalich, Sydney; Kang, Gene (22 July 2018). "'The Next Thing I Do, I'm Going to Die Doing It or I'm Going to Jail': Trader Joe's Standoff Suspect's Family Reacts". NBC News Los Angeles. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  14. "Man in LA Trader Joe's standoff arrested on murder charge". KCCI (Des Monies). AP. 22 July 2018.

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