UPDATED: Prosecutors have charged Gene Atkins, the suspect in the Silver Lake shootout, with murder, along with 30 other counts, including kidnapping, attempted murder, attempted murder of police officers, and false imprisonment.
Even though the fatal bullet did not come from Atkins’ gun, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office is seeking to hold him responsible for the death of Trader Joe’s store manager Melyda Corado, under the “provocative act theory,” by which a defendant can be held responsible for the consequences of his own illegal conduct.
Prosecutors are asking that Atkins be held on $18.7 million bail.
The Los Angeles Police Department announced Tuesday that one of its officers fired the bullet that killed Corado during a shootout at the Silver Lake store on Saturday.
“On behalf of myself and the rest of the Department, I want to express my deepest condolences and sympathy to [Corado’s] family and everyone that knew her,” police chief Michael Moore said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times. “I know that it’s every officer’s worst nightmare to hurt an innocent bystander during a violent engagement. I spoke with the officers this morning — they’re devastated. They were devastated in the immediate aftermath of this event.”
Saturday’s three-hour hostage crisis at the grocery store started when Atkins shot his grandmother and a 17-year-old female. Atkins, 28, took off in a car before crashing into a pole outside the Trader Joe’s. Officers returned fire after Atkins allegedly shot at them. As Atkins ran into the store, Corado was walking out of the building, where she was shot. After taking the bullet, Corado ran back inside the store and “collapsed behind the manager’s desk,” according to Moore.
Atkins’ grandmother and the teenage woman are currently in critical condition from the bullet wounds, Moore said.