28-year-old held on $2M bail for Trader Joe’s murder

Posted at 8:49 PM, Jul 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-22 16:05:16-04

LOS ANGELES (CNN) — Los Angeles police have identified the suspect in Saturday’s deadly armed standoff at a Trader Joe’s grocery store as Gene Evin Atkins.

Atkins, 28, is being held on one count of murder and other charges soon to be determined, Los Angeles police Officer Drake Madison told CNN on Sunday evening. His bail was set at $2 million.

A Trader Joe’s employee, Melyda Eldorado, died in the standoff, which stretched over several tense hours Saturday before the gunman surrendered.

About 40 people were inside the grocery store on Hyperion Avenue in Los Angeles’ Silver Lake neighborhood when an armed man ran in, police said. He had crashed a car nearby after firing multiple rounds at officers pursuing him, police said.

The man was fleeing police after a shooting involving an elderly woman and a young woman, Los Angeles police Officer Mike Lopez told CNN. Their conditions were not given.

The older woman was the suspect’s grandmother, police said. He was driving her car when he wrecked it near the Trader Joe’s.

Woman killed inside Trader Joe’s during standoff, Los Angeles mayor says

Customers ran out of the store when the armed man burst in. Police surrounded the building. During the three-hour standoff, several people walked out of the store with their hands up. Some employees climbed out a back window on a chain ladder.

After talking with hostage negotiators, the suspect handcuffed himself and surrendered, police said.

At a news conference afterward, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said a woman inside the store was killed. He did not identify her or say how she died. The suspect’s arm was injured in an exchange of gunfire with police, Garcetti told reporters after the standoff ended.

The victim’s brother identified her. Eldorado worked at Trader Joe’s for four to five years, Albert Corado said.

“She was the person I loved the most in the world. She was never anyone but herself for better or worse, she was herself,” Corado said.

Melyda Eldorado was a store manager, CNN affiliate KABC reported.