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Opinion

Readers React: The LAPD didn’t protect anyone by accidentally shooting a Trader Joe’s manager

A gunman suspected of shooting two people at a South L.A. home before opening fire outside a Trader
The scene outside Trader Joe’s in Silver Lake on July 21, after the LAPD had taken a suspected gunman into custody following a gunfight and a standoff.
( Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore, in defending the seemingly reckless actions of his officers at the Silver Lake Trader Joe’s on Saturday, stated, “I believe it’s what they needed to do in order to defend the people of Los Angeles and the people in that store.”

The fact that store manager Melyda Corado was killed by a bullet fired from an officer’s gun is concrete evidence that what the police did failed to protect the people in that store.

One expert on police shootings said, “The alternative was to surrender the lives of hostages inside the store.” Were lives inside the store saved because Corado died? Ridiculous.

Another expert said the officers “handled the situation with textbook calm,” yet undercut his opinion by describing the shooting as “risky given the distance, the backdrop and the moving target.”

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It’s obvious that the LAPD needs to improve its training so officers can make better decisions in crowded public spaces.

Noel Johnson, Glendale

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To the editor: This is an unfortunate incident. The officers had two seconds to decide whether to shoot while the suspect was outside the Trader Joe’s. They knew he already shot one person and he might choose to kill hostages in a standoff.

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I am not sure why the manager was at the door. She may have wanted to investigate what happened after hearing the suspect’s car crash in front of the store. In any case, she was in a bad position.

There are lessons for all of us. To investigate, do it from a safe position rather than from a door. With shootings, the rules are to run, hide or fight, with fighting being the last resort. In most shooting situations you only must survive the first 15 minutes until the police arrive.

Finally, always be observant of your surroundings.

Alan L. Strzemieczny, Riverside

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To the editor: Talking about the Silver Lake Trader Joe’s manager who was killed by a bullet from an officer’s gun, Moore said, “I ask that you place yourself in these two officers’ positions and ask yourself, what would you have done?”

That question is exactly wrong. He sounds more like the defense attorney than someone whose duties include proper training of police officers. Civilians, who have not been trained by the LAPD to carry deadly weapons to protect public safety, have no idea what they would do, and that doesn’t matter.

Is the Los Angeles Police Academy encouraging officers to just do what anyone “would have done”? Or is it training officers to be less likely than the average untrained person who may react precipitously, foolishly and hastily?

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The question is not, “What would you have done?” The question is, “What should a trained officer have done?” The answer: not this.

Diane Klein, North Hollywood

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To the editor: We have a winner. Moore, the new LAPD chief, is an effective leader, and his handling of the Trader Joe’s tragedy shows his empathy and desire for transparency.

Parenthetically, he needs work on the inadequacy of police pursuits.

Arnold L. Gilberg, Beverly Hills

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