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Relatives of woman fatally shot by LAPD officer at Trader Joe's file wrongful death claim

Relatives of woman fatally shot by LAPD officer at Trader Joe's file wrongful death claim
Salvador Albert Corado, father of Melyda Corado, who was shot and killed by LAPD officers at a Trader Joe's in Silver Lake, during a press conference with a family attorney, John Taylor. Melyda's photo is in the background. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

The father and brother of Melyda Corado, the 27-year-old store manager killed by a police officer’s bullet at a Trader Joe’s in Silver Lake, have filed claims for damages with the city.

The claims, which allege excessive force, wrongful death and other violations, are a necessary step before suing in the courts.

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John Taylor, an attorney for the Corados, said the claims were filed Thursday because the Los Angeles Police Department has not provided the family with all of the videos surrounding the shooting.

“The city has forced us to file the claims to take steps to get questions answered about how their daughter was killed,” Taylor said.

Corado was killed on July 21, after two police officers pursued a suspect who had shot his grandmother in South L.A. and taken a young woman hostage.

The suspect, identified by police as Gene Evin Atkins, led the officers on a lengthy chase with the hostage in his grandmother’s car. He parked the car outside the Trader Joe’s and ran toward the store, which was crowded with Saturday afternoon shoppers.

The suspect fired his gun at the officers, who fired back. An officer’s bullet struck Corado in the arm and passed through her body, fatally wounding her.

Another bullet hit the suspect in the arm, but he held shoppers and employees hostage inside the store for three hours before surrendering.

Atkins, 28, has been charged with 51 felony counts, including murder, kidnapping, premeditated attempted murder and attempted murder of a peace officer.

The LAPD has released video and audio clips in two batches, to comply with a new policy requiring recordings to be made public within 45 days of shootings by police officers.

The edited releases, like others under the policy, contain voice overs by LAPD officials and are stitched together from footage that includes body cam and dash cam recordings and 911 calls, to form a coherent narrative. The editing has been criticized by Corado’s attorneys and others as a public relations effort to shape the story favorably for the LAPD.

Josh Rubenstein, a spokesman for the LAPD, said the department cannot comment on pending litigation but continues to express sympathy for the Corado family.

Rubenstein asserted that all videos have been released publicly that capture the moments when the two police officers, Sinlen Tse and Sarah Winans, fired their weapons.

“Everything from the use of force is out there,” Rubenstein said.

Taylor disputed Rubenstein’s statement, pointing out that video has not been released from LAPD officers who pulled up to the scene as the shooting was happening.

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Additional videos, including those from the body cameras of officers standing by during the hostage standoff, have not been released to the public.

Corado was beloved by Trader Joe’s regulars, and tributes to her piled up outside the store in the days after her death.

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