Two Los Angeles police officers who engaged in a 2018 gunfight with a suspect outside a Trader Joe’s store in Silver Lake, with a police bullet striking and killing an assistant store manager, acted lawfully and will not be charged with a crime, according to a report released Tuesday by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
The prosecution’s assessment of the police shooting of Melyda Corado, however, is dated Nov. 30, about a week prior to new District Attorney George Gascon being sworn into office. It was not immediately clear if Gascon — who has vowed to take a harder stance on law enforcement shootings — plans to review the case, the Daily News reports.
In a 22-page evaluation of the shooting, the District Attorney’s Office concluded that Officers Sinlen Tse and Sarah Winans were “justified in using deadly force in an attempt to stop” the suspect, Gene Evin Atkins, who was shot in the left elbow as he ran from the car into the market. He was subsequently charged with murder involving Corado’s death, along with 50 other counts.
“The fact that Corado was struck accidentally by Tse’s gunfire is tragic, however, it does not negate the lawfulness of the officers’ actions in using deadly force to stop a dangerous fleeing felon,” according to the memorandum from the District Attorney’s Office.
Atkins allegedly fired shots at the two officers during the chase, and again when he got out of the car following a crash and fled into the store, holding customers and employees at gunpoint inside before surrendering to a SWAT team after about three hours of negotiations.