Family of Woman Killed by Police Gunfire in Trader Joe’s Shootout Disputes LAPD’s ‘Highly-Edited’ Videos of the Incident

Hours after police released more videos of the deadly Silver Lake Trader Joe's shootout in July, attorneys for the family of the 27-year-old woman killed by LAPD gunfire in the incident have called the footage "highly-edited" and slammed the department for withholding other video and delaying the release of her autopsy report.

"We have many questions about how Mely died, but we don’t have any answers," said the father of Melyda Corado, Albert, during a Tuesday afternoon news conference alongside his attorneys.

Meylda was an innocent bystander when she was struck by police gunfire just as a shootout unfolded outside the grocery store where she was working as an assistant manager on July 21.

Her father directly addressed the Los Angeles Police Department, calling on the agency to release all the evidence "so we can move on with our lives."

That includes all raw video of the incident, from the store's surveillance video to unedited body cam footage, as well as Melyda Corado's complete autopsy report, according to the family's attorneys.

But the family's lawyers said it's been impossible to get ahold of those materials, with LAPD placing a security hold on Corado's autopsy report and ordering toxicology tests for her that will further delay the report's release, said Ron Rosengarten, one of the attorneys.

"We have not heard a reasonable explanation for why toxicology tests were ordered for her," Rosengarten said.

A portrait of Melyda Corado is pinned to a memorial outside Trader Joe's in Silver Lake. (Credit: Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

A portrait of Melyda Corado is pinned to a memorial outside Trader Joe's in Silver Lake. (Credit: Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

The shootout that killed Corado unfolded after a police chase that started in South L.A., officials said. Gene Evin Atkins had shot his grandmother multiple times before fleeing in her car, kidnapping a female acquaintance along the way, according to police.

He led police on a chase and started firing at the officers just before crashing the car into a telephone pole outside Trader Joe's, as video of the chase shows. That's when officers got out and started opening fire. But Atkins still managed to get inside the store, entering it just after 3 p.m. as he proceeded to take dozens of people hostage, police said.

The two officers involved in the shooting that killed Corado have been identified by LAPD as Sinlen Tse and Sarah Winans.

Atkins eventually surrendered around 6:30 p.m., exiting the store in handcuffs, police said. Not more than an hour later, authorities confirmed a woman had been fatally struck and was pronounced dead at the scene. She was later identified as Corado.

Atkins has since been charged with murder in Corado's death, in addition to several other criminal counts — including six counts of attempted murder, kidnapping, 13 counts of false imprisonment of a hostage and assault with a firearm among other charges, according to prosecutors.

But videos of the incident released by LAPD on Tuesday — which included several videos and 911 calls all packaged into one edited video — were described as a "highly edited ... public relations piece" by one of the family's attorneys, John Taylor.

The family has not been able to get access to raw, unedited videos of the chase and standoff LAPD officers engaged in with Atkins, according to their attorneys.

Officials wheel Gene Atkins into an ambulance after a deadly standoff with police at a Trader Joe's in Silver Lake on July 21, 2018. (Credit: KTLA)

Officials wheel Gene Atkins into an ambulance after a deadly standoff with police at a Trader Joe's in Silver Lake on July 21, 2018. (Credit: KTLA)

When the Corado family tried getting ahold of surveillance video from the Trader Joe's store, they were informed "LAPD has taken custody of the original video card," according to Ron Rosengarten, one of the attorneys.

The newest footage released by police shows body cam footage on an officer driving in the chase. Seconds before the crash, an officer is heard telling the other to not fire back when gunshots start coming from the pursuit vehicle.

"We're going to keep our distance," the officer says just as the chase approaches the Trader Joe's store, in the last few seconds before the crash.  After the car slams into the telephone pole outside the store, body cam footage on the officer shows him jump out of his vehicle and start firing.

Two Trader Joe's employees embrace before walking into the Silver Lake store on Aug. 2, 2018. (Credit: KTLA)

Two Trader Joe's employees embrace before walking into the Silver Lake store on Aug. 2, 2018. (Credit: KTLA)

John Taylor, one of the attorneys representing the Corado family, criticized the officers's actions in those final moments — calling it an "out-of-policy shooting."

"The officers in the pursuit car had no tactical plan, got out of the vehicle — already having made up their minds to fire their weapons," Taylor said. "Without assessing the background that confronted them, they shot towards the direction of Trader Joe’s."

The direction of the officer's gunfire was also aimed toward "at least four or five visible people in front of the store and on the side of the store" along with people inside the store and the cars parked south of where the pursuit car crashed, he said.

Corado was struck as she ran out of the store, authorities have said.

Dash cam footage, body cam videos and video from the police helicopter involved in the chase are all being pursued by the Corado family, Taylor added. Those raw videos may help answer some of their questions, he said.

"As of now, we know nothing more than what you know from watching these edited clips that the city has released," he said. "The Corado family does knot know what Mely Corado’s last moments were like or how she died."

The video released by LAPD stated there's still an ongoing investigation into "whether the officers tactics and use of force met the high standards expected of all LAPD officers."