LAPD Chief Michel Moore confirmed at a news conference that 27-year-old Melyda Marciela Corado was struck by gunfire from officers during the standoff situation.
The situation unfolded Saturday afternoon with a family dispute in South Los Angeles, where the suspect, Gene Evin Atkins, allegedly shot his grandmother and fled in a car, taking with him a 17-year-old girl who was grazed by a bullet. It's believed the teen may be Atkins' girlfriend.
LAPD officers were able to track Atkins' car using LoJack and tried to pull him over in Hollywood, but Atkins refused to pull over and fled from officers.
During the chase, Atkins fired through the back window of his car at officers before he crashed into a pole right outside the Trader Joe's store.
During the morning news conference, LAPD released footage from the dashcam of the pursuing police car as well as a body worn camera from an officer.
Moore said when that crash occurred, people inside the market, including Corado, moved toward the front of the business to see what was going on.
As Atkins exited his car, he fired a semi-automatic pistol at officers, Moore said. That's when the two LAPD officers who had been chasing Atkins returned fire. During that shootout, Atkins sustained a through-and-through gunshot wound to his left arm, Moore said.
"I'm sorry to report that we've now determined through our forensic investigation that one of the officers' rounds struck Ms. Corado as she was exiting the market and was in close proximity to Atkins," Moore said. "Ms. Corado ran back into the store and collapsed behind the manager's desk."
Moore said there is much more investigation to be done in this case and there is additional evidence he needs to review before making his final decision regarding the actions of the officers involved in the shooting.
"I know it is every officer's worst nightmare to harm an innocent bystander during a violent engagement," he said. "I spoke with both these officers this morning. They're devastated...However, from the information I've been provided to this point, I believe my officers' actions were taken to defend themselves and in direct response to the deadly threat posed by Atkins."
Atkins' grandmother and the 17-year-old girl involved in the family dispute are expected to recover.
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