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Gene Atkins took hostages at Trader Joe’s after shooting grandmother: 48 Hours investigates on Investigation Discovery
22nd November 2019 5:41 PM ET
In June 2018 Gene Atkins having shot his grandmother and girlfriend at his home in South Los Angeles, then led LAPD officers on a car chase through Hollywood and Silver Lake. On crashing his car outside a Trader Joe’s grocery store, he opened fire on officers, then ran into the store prompting a three hour hostage situation.
Atkins shot his grandmother in the chest seven times, he then loaded his injured girlfriend into his grandmother’s Camry and drove off. Neighbors alerted police to the situation and officers gave chase, until he crashed the car into a pole.
When Atkins emerged from his crashed car he opened fire on police officers, when they returned fire one of the officers bullets inadvertently hit and killed store manager Melyda Corado.
Atkins held approximately 40 to 50 people hostage in the store for about three hours. Heavily armed officers used mirrors to keep an eye on what was happening in-store, while negotiators tried to persuade Atkins to surrender.
Some store employees and customers managed to escape, some took refuge in an employee break room, others flattened themselves on the ground and texted loved ones. Some of the hostages managed to negotiate the release of others.
Atkins eventually agreed to handcuff himself and surrender to officers, he emerged from the store surrounded by four hostages to insure he would not be shot.
Atkins has been charged with the murder of Corado, despite her being shot by police officers. Atkins is being accused under the “provocative act theory” which perceives him as being guilty of Corado’s death because he set off the chain of events that led to her being shot.
He has been charged with the murder of Corado, the attempted murders of his grandmother and girlfriend, plus 48 other criminal counts including false imprisonment.
In court on December 17th he entered a plea of insanity. His bail has been set at $23 million.
This episode airs on 48 Hours at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.