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Newsletter: Today: In Silver Lake, to Shoot or Not to Shoot?

Hostage drama at Trader Joe’s
A man suspected of shooting two people at a South L.A. home before opening fire outside a Trader Joe’s in Silver Lake is in custody after a tense standoff.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

The LAPD’s decision to engage a gunman in a shootout at the Trader Joe’s in Silver Lake on Saturday has drawn praise and criticism.

TOP STORIES

For the record:
10:00 PM, Jul. 23, 2018 An item in this newsletter incorrectly described the race between two Republicans in Georgia as the runoff for governor; it’s a runoff in the GOP primary election for governor.

In Silver Lake, to Shoot or Not to Shoot?

Over just a few hours, authorities say, Gene Atkins had shot his grandmother, kidnapped his girlfriend and led police on a chase from Hollywood to Silver Lake while shooting at officers from his car. Still armed, he ran through a crowded Trader Joe’s parking lot toward a packed store. Police faced a scenario that experts call a “lose-lose”: Shoot back and risk lives, or let him enter the store and potentially endanger dozens more. In the ensuing gun battle, the store’s manager was killed.

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The Aftershocks of Helsinki

One week after President Trump and Vladimir Putin met in Helsinki, Finland, the blowback and the walk-backs continue. Lawmakers from both parties have expressed opposition to Trump’s plans to host the Russian president in Washington this year. Meanwhile in Europe, government officials are rethinking their reliance on the U.S. as an ally against Russia, even though the alternatives are few. And the kicker? Trump is back to calling Russian election interference in the U.S. “all a big hoax.”

More Politics

-- Trump tweeted an all-caps warning to Iran’s president telling him to “never, ever threaten the United States again.” Earlier Sunday, Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo blasted the Iranian government in a speech in Simi Valley.

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-- Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is scheduled to go on trial Wednesday in the first courtroom showdown over charges brought by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

-- The disclosure that Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen had secretly recorded him discussing a payment to a former Playboy playmate is raising thorny legal questions.

L.A.’s Ambassador of Food

“A veritable encyclopedia of Los Angeles food.” “A modern-day ethnographer.” “One of our greatest and most important literary voices.” When L.A. Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold died on Saturday at age 57, the tributes poured in — from chefs, fellow journalists and readers just like you. Though he began as a music fan and writer who introduced much of the world to N.W.A, Gold would go on to pioneer an approach to food criticism that championed off-the-beaten-path ethnic restaurants in the city, more so than haute cuisine, and that focused on the positive. He understood that food was a way to bring together people in a place that can seem fractured on so many levels. “I’m trying to get people to be less afraid of their neighbors,” Gold once said. The Times has lowered its paywall for all readers to take in his “101 Best Restaurants” in L.A., his favorite recipes, a sampling of his reviews and much more.

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Jonathan Gold with his wife, Times arts and entertainment editor Laurie Ochoa, in the kitchen of their Pasadena home.
(Anne Fishbein)

Christmas in July

For those looking for work in retail during back-to-school season and the Christmas holidays, happy times are here again. Stores such as J.C. Penney Co. and Kohl’s Corp. already are posting help-wanted ads for seasonal workers, weeks or even months earlier than usual. With the economy showing solid growth, “the jobs machine in the United States has really kicked in and that includes retail,” the chief economist for the National Retail Federation trade group says.

China’s ‘Ishtar’ Moment

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The $100-million fantasy epic “Asura” was billed as the most expensive movie ever produced by China’s growing film industry. When the picture hit theaters last weekend, it grossed just $7 million — and was mysteriously pulled by the producers. Just as Hollywood did three decades ago after the box-office bomb “Ishtar,” studios in China are now engaged in soul-searching about what their audiences really want.

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OUR MUST-READS FROM THE WEEKEND

-- As L.A. struggles to reduce traffic deaths, more than 200 miles of Los Angeles streets have expired speed limits and very little speed enforcement.

-- An L.A. hero of World War II was laid to rest nearly 74 years after he was killed by the Germans.

-- The reports on child poverty, columnist Steve Lopez writes, “cannot capture the look in the eyes of a child wise beyond her years.”

-- In the fight for immigrants, Cardinal Roger Mahony is working outside the spotlight as his successor steps up.

-- Graphic: Inside the historic buildings that have defined the Los Angeles Times.

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MUST-WATCH VIDEO

-- Giant sea bass are mysterious to scientists. Our understanding of them could help the species survive.

CALIFORNIA

-- More than two decades after L.A. was forced to cut water diversions, the state is poised to impose similar restrictions on San Francisco and some of the Central Valley’s oldest irrigation districts.

-- The state agency that regulates physicians has ordered USC’s former medical school dean, Dr. Carmen Puliafito, stripped of his license to practice medicine, citing “an appalling lack of judgment.”

-- The Ferguson fire continued its march toward Yosemite National Park this weekend, growing significantly to more than 32,000 acres and prompting the closure of some campgrounds and roads.

-- The stage appears set for a deal that would resolve political money-laundering allegations against Los Angeles school board member Ref Rodriguez, based on a filing posted by the city’s Ethics Commission.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

-- This weekend’s Comic-Con in San Diego was missing some of the big players, but it still had plenty of memorable moments, including celebrity cosplay.

-- In a box-office surprise, “The Equalizer 2” starring Denzel Washington beat out “Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again” for the top spot.

-- After director James Gunn’s firing from the upcoming “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” some actors and celebrities have taken to social media in his defense.

-- “Pose,” an FX drama about the underground ball scene in the 1980s, could be a big step for the trans community.

CLASSIC HOLLYWOOD

On the John Waters scale of transgressive cult movies, “Hairspray” is one of his tamest, a sweet PG-rated affair that became a Tony Award-winning musical. Still, Waters admits, “I never thought 30 years later that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences would be having a screening of ‘Hairspray.’ ” Tonight, the director and some of the movie’s cast, including Ricki Lake, Mink Stole, Pia Zadora and Debbie Harry, will be on hand in Beverly Hills.

NATION-WORLD

-- A gunman and one victim are dead after a man shot 14 people, including a young girl, in the Toronto neighborhood known as Greektown late Sunday, police said.

-- The runoff in the Republican primary election for governor of Georgia between two hard-liners may come down to who’s the “craziest,” as one of the contenders has put it.

-- With Syrian government forces closing in on the opposition’s last redoubts bordering the Golan Heights, hundreds of volunteer rescue workers from the group known as the White Helmets and their family members have been evacuated.

-- Britain’s new “Brexit” chief has suggested that his country might not pay its $51-billion divorce bill if no trade agreement with the European Union is reached.

BUSINESS

-- The Wall Street Journal reports that Tesla has asked some of its suppliers to refund a portion of what the automaker has already spent to help it become profitable.

-- Should a soon-to-be retiree use savings to pay off the mortgage? A look at one scenario.

SPORTS

-- Eight years ago, Lakers owner Jerry Buss had a dream: sign LeBron James. Here’s how it finally came true, five years after Buss died.

-- At the British Open, Francesco Molinari held off Tiger Woods and the rest of the field to become the first Italian to win a major golf championship.

OPINION

-- Former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman would like to have a word with her fellow Republicans after the Helsinki summit: Trump is clearly unfit to remain in office.

-- It’s time to stop using gillnets for swordfishing. Dead dolphins, whales and sea turtles simply aren’t acceptable collateral damage.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- The health insurance industry has joined forces with data brokers to collect personal details about hundreds of millions of Americans. That could raise your rates. (ProPublica)

-- Children as young as 5 are getting into car racing, and they could be the future of NASCAR. (New York Times)

-- “The AI revolution will be led by toasters, not droids.” (Aeon)

ONLY IN L.A.

Chef Kris Yenbamroong remembers the evenings when his Night+Market in West Hollywood didn’t have any customers. His plan, once the restaurant closed, was to go to business school. But that didn’t happen, and today the likes of Chrissy Teigen tweet about its pad see ew. Yenbamroong says Jonathan Gold gave him the break of a lifetime — in a turn of events that reads like a movie.

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