Trader Joe’s Employee Killed During Hostage Standoff in Los Angeles

Police officers surrounding a Trader Joe’s in the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles, where an armed suspect barricaded himself inside on Saturday.

LOS ANGELES — One person was killed at a Trader Joe’s in Los Angeles on Saturday, when a gunman exchanged fire with the police, ran into the store and barricaded himself with hostages for about three hours before surrendering, city officials said.

The victim’s family identified her on social media as Melyda Corado, an employee at the store. In a statement on Sunday, Trader Joe’s said the tragedy was “the saddest day in Trader Joe’s history as we mourn the loss of one of our own.”

The Los Angeles Police Department identified the suspect as Gene Atkins, 28. A police spokesman said Mr. Atkins had been charged with murder. Records show he was being held with bail set at $2 million.

Mr. Atkins had been fleeing the police after he shot his grandmother and injured another woman earlier in the day, the police said. Armed with a handgun, the authorities said, he took about 40 people hostage inside the store, including children, shoppers and employees.

For several hours, the standoff unfolded in Silver Lake, a neighborhood on the east side of the city that has been marked by gentrification and an influx of younger residents. After the standoff began, the area was locked down and streets were filled with police cars and fire trucks.

Law enforcement officers surrounded the store and shoppers and employees fled, running away on foot and climbing out a window. Video footage showed officers carrying children away in their arms.

The authorities rescued some hostages, and the gunman released others, officials said. After about three hours, Mr. Atkins handcuffed himself and surrendered, the authorities said.

“The heroism that was shown today was second to none,” Mayor Eric M. Garcetti of Los Angeles said at a news conference on Saturday evening.

During the ordeal, Ms. Corado’s brother tweeted to ask for help because he had not been able to get in touch with his sister, who worked at the store. He later shared that she did not survive.

The police said they were investigating how she was shot and killed.

The shooting spree began around 1:30 p.m., when the suspect shot his grandmother as many as seven times, Chief Michel R. Moore of the Los Angeles Police Department said at the news conference. The grandmother had surgery and was in critical condition on Saturday night, he said.

Mr. Atkins injured another woman who was at the scene and kidnapped her in his car, the police said.

The suspect fled from the police in a 2015 Toyota Camry, and at one point, began shooting at officers from his car, the authorities said. He eventually crashed his car near the Trader Joe’s and exchanged gunfire with the police in the area.

No officers were injured. The police said Mr. Atkins was shot in the arm.

The situation drew the attention of President Trump, who tweeted at one point during the standoff that he was watching it “very closely.”

Trader Joe’s said the store in Silver Lake would be closed until further notice as its employees processed what the company called a “terrifying and unimaginable ordeal.”

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