A crowd of hundreds assembled outside Trader Joe's in Silver Lake on Wednesday to grieve together and honor the life of the store's 27-year-old assistant manager, who was fatally struck amid a shootout there over the weekend.
Melyda Corado was killed Saturday by police gunfire as officers were engaged in a standoff with Gene Evin Atkins, who is also accused of shooting his 76-year-old grandmother and kidnapping a female acquaintance.
Corado was shot while trying to escape the store where she worked after a violent police pursuit Atkins was involved in ended in a crash outside, on Hyperion Avenue, Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said earlier this week.
Trader Joe's, a chain known for its tight-knit community of friendly workers and loyal customers, has kept the Silver Lake location shuttered since the deadly incident. The mourners on Wednesday gathered in the parking lot, outside a boarded-up storefront.
"I've come to Trader Joe's two or three times a week for the last 30 years," said customer Alexis Krasilovsky. "It's where I go when I'm lonely, to see little kids and the friendly employees. It's such a tragedy. My heart goes out to anybody who's suffering."
The incident has been traumatic for the whole community, said Jerome Courshon, an at-large representative with the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council.
The loss has been especially strong across the grocer's extended community of employees, said Danny Provencio, who previously worked at the Silver Lake location for four years.
"This broke my heart like it broke everybody's heart," he told KTLA. "Everybody that works here is family."
Corado's family was in attendance Wednesday as the crowd prayed, shared memories and held a moment of silence.
A makeshift memorial on the sidewalk along Hyperion continues to grow with photos, flowers and messages of tribute.