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Woman killed during Trader Joe's shooting was store manager

Gene Atkins, a 28-year-old Los Angeles man, has been identified as the suspect in a wild car chase and gun battle that left one woman dead and sparked panic inside a Trader Joe’s store in Silver Lake.

Los Angeles police continued to investigate the deadly gun battle at a Silver Lake Trader Joe’s that killed a store employee as the stunned community mourned.

Family members identified the woman who was killed as Melyda Corado. Her brother tweeted Saturday afternoon that his sister worked at the store and that he could not locate her. Later, Albert Corado tweeted: “I’m sad to say she didn’t make it. My baby sister. My world. I appreciate the retweets and the love. Please respect my family’s privacy as we are still coming to terms with this.”

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Corado was the store manager, according to a law enforcement source. She was shot inside the store and died at the scene, authorities said.

Condolences for Corado spread both in the neighborhood and on social media.

“I worked with her for years. I am so so so sorry. Such a lovely, sweet, friendly, hardworking woman. I was thinking about her the whole time, and it’s just incomprehensible,” one former Trader Joe’s employee wrote on Twitter.

(Ellis Simani / @latimesgraphics)

The gunfire stunned the Silver Lake community.

The ordeal began as a family dispute in South Los Angeles involving the still unidentified man, 28, who shot his grandmother at least seven times and injured another woman, according to police.

The gunman dragged the second woman into his grandmother’s Toyota Camry and fled.

Police found the car in Hollywood using transmissions from its anti-theft device, and a chase ensued. The gunman blew out his own rear window while firing at police, officials said. The pursuit ended with the Camry crashing into a light post outside the Trader Joe’s in Silver Lake.

The gunman exchanged fire with police and was struck in his left arm before running inside the store, police said.

Between 40 and 50 others were trapped inside, and a three-hour hostage negotiation ensued. During that time, the suspect allowed some to leave while others sneaked out. Some crawled out of windows.

The grandmother was in critical condition after undergoing surgery, according to Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore. The second woman injured by the gunman suffered a relatively minor head wound and was in good condition, he said.

Don Kohles was outside the store when he saw the end of the pursuit.

Immediately, he heard two shots and ducked into the exit door. He looked back at the street and saw two police officers shooting at the man.

“The bullets were flying everywhere through the front of the store and across the parking lot,” he said.

The gunfire shattered the glass doors, he said, and the gunman ran into the store and “down the middle aisle.”

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A woman at the Gelson’s supermarket across the street said people inside heard the gunfire and that everyone dived to the floor. She said employees eventually let shoppers out.

Elias Cueva, who works at Gelson’s, was outside on his lunch break and saw the police chase.

“The tire exploded. When he couldn’t move the car, the police shot at him. I dove onto the floor,” he said.

Inside Gelson’s, employees thought the shooter was outside.

“Right when we heard the gunshots, we went down,” Avo Kegeyan said. “We thought the shooter was in our parking lot shooting at us.”

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