Suspected gunman in LA deadly Trader Joe's standoff identified

Lester Mason
July 23, 2018

Lynne Westafer, a Trader Joe's employee, told KCAL that she didn't know the gunman shot his grandmother before the hostage situation unfolded. During the three-hour standoff, several people walked out of the store with their hands up.

Police officers escort people out after sealing off the area near Trader Joe's supermarket.

After talking with hostage negotiators, the man, 28, eventually handcuffed himself and surrendered, police said.

Police immediately surrounded the suspect, searched him and then brought him to a waiting ambulance.

Around 1:30 p.m., police spotted the suspect driving his grandmother's auto in the Hollywood area and a pursuit began.

Derek Anthony told NBC4 he saw the end of a vehicle chase: "The auto had heavy damage, had flat tyres and the suspect was still careening around the corner with all the police behind him, and he was shooting his gun as he came around the corner".

The suspect was fleeing from officers in a Toyota Camry after allegedly shooting his girlfriend and his grandmother earlier on Saturday.

Trader Joe's said the store - known by customers as a neighborhood hangout with great customer service - would remain closed for the foreseeable future to give their employees time to process and grieve.

The suspect's auto crashed next to the store and he opened fire on the officers chasing him, before entering the premises as shoppers ran for cover, the Los Angeles Times said.

There was one fatality, police said.


Montgomery said Hollywood officers attempted to pull the suspect over but he opened fire during a pursuit. After about 30 minutes, he says police came him and rushed them outside.

The video also showed officers carrying a person who appeared to be injured, as well as people climbing out of a store window and down a ladder. It is unclear if there was another woman that was "shot" and "dragged away from entry while unconscious".

Mayor Eric Garcetti congratulated police and firefighters for their work, adding: "The heroism that was shown today was second to none, and the teams that were able to respond, secure the perimeter and engage in conversation with the suspect no doubt saved lives today", he said.

A 27-year-old Trader Joe's employee, Melyda Corado, was killed as Atkis ran into the supermarket in the city's Silver Lake neighborhood on Saturday.

"She appeared lifeless", Dunlop said.

The man began shooting and ran into the Trader Joe's store where he barricaded himself inside. Three other people were evaluated but declined to be taken to hospitals.

A 22-year-old woman was wounded by glass fragments and later took herself to a hospital, police said.

Don Kohles was outside the store when he saw the end of the pursuit.

US President Donald Trump had earlier tweeted that he was "watching Los Angeles possible hostage situation very closely".

Employees and customers inside the store dove for cover as the bullets flew.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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