The family of a Silver Lake Trader Joe's store manager killed by police gunfire during a shootout between officers and a fleeing suspect filed a wrongful death lawsuit Thursday seeking not only damages for the woman's death, but also answers about the circumstances of the deadly shooting.
Melyda Corado, 27, was working her shift at the grocery store on Hyperion Avenue on July 21 when a police pursuit of a man accused of shooting his grandmother in South L.A. and taking a young woman hostage ended up in front of the business.
Too many questions remain about the incident, despite promises from the Los Angeles Police Department and Chief Michel Moore of a transparent investigation, said Ron Rosengarten, one of the attorneys representing the Corado family.
"It's now more than four months since Mely’s tragic death, and the Corado family is still waiting for Chief Moore and the LAPD to keep its promise of transparency and openness and provide the Corado family with answers," he said at a news conference.
"We are filing a lawsuit today, on behalf of the Corado family, because Chief Moore and the LAPD have broken this promise, and to get answers," Rosengarten said.
Melyda Corado's father said he's been seeking answers – but finding few.
"We have been asking for help since the day my daughter died," Albert Corado Sr. said.
"They talk about transparency, but the bottom line is: I haven’t heard from (Moore) or the LAPD. We still don’t have a coroner’s report after all this time. Trader Joe’s is back in business. The LAPD moves on," he said. "Mely is gone. We have been stuck in a time capsule of pain and distress.
"I feel helpless," the father said. "One thing I know for sure is I’m going to dedicate the rest of my life to keep the memory of my daughter alive."
The family has yet to be provided with the police report on the incident, said attorney John Taylor, who is also representing the Corado family.
The coroner's autopsy report has been completed, but is being withheld due to a "security hold" placed on the case by the LAPD, Taylor said, adding, "It makes no sense."
"Mely’s loved ones are entitled to answers and Angelenos deserve complete transparency in understanding the complete circumstances of her death," Taylor said.
"We’ve gotten nothing from the city of Los Angeles. The lawyers do not respond to us. The officials ignore us. And we now are going to get the help of the court system and filed a wrongful death lawsuit today in order to answer these questions," Taylor said.
"As we sit here now, the family does not know what the last moments of their sister and their daughter were like, though we know LAPD has the security footage from the Trader Joe's camera that shows Mely’s last moments," Taylor said.
The family still does not know how many officers were involved in Corado's shooting, he said.
"Our family is still dealing with an immense amount of pain," Melyda Corao's brother, Albert Corado Jr., said. "One of the thing's that's making it difficult is the LAPD."
"They refuse to give us even the tiniest shred of evidence and they continue to ignore my family, what we’ve asked them to do, our pleas for any sort of closure, any information that may lead to us getting a better understanding of Mely’s death, and why she died," he said. "We’ve had nothing but empty gestures and empty words from the LAPD and Chief Moore."
The time for patience has passed, Albert Corado Jr. said.
"We’ve now had enough, and after waiting for them to do the right thing, it’s time to take them to court and seek justice for Mely," he said. "Mely, wherever you are now, I promise you there will be justice."
In addition to failing to provide information about the events of July 21, LAPD is responsible for Mely Corado's death, Taylor alleged.
After learning police had been monitoring the standoff in real-time via surveillance cameras, "We have questions whether Mely Corado’s life could have been saved if care had been given to her in a timely fashion," Taylor said.
“This is an out-of-policy LAPD shooting," he said. The involved officers were either poorly trained, or failed to employ their training, he said.
"The resulting death of Mely followed from their failure to follow proper training and proper protocol," he said.