The 28-year-old armed man who ran into a Silver Lake Trader Joe’s after a shoot-out with police surrendered to officers at the scene Saturday — ending an hourslong standoff that left one woman dead, two other women injured with gunshot wounds and another six people taken to the hospital.
People inside the grocery store were faced with gunfire and a scene of chaos earlier in the afternoon, when the suspect entered the store just after 3 p.m. He allegedly held multiple people hostage inside.
Over the course of the hourslong standoff that followed, 18 ambulances and 100 firefighters were called to the scene as authorities prepared for the worst, officials said. Forty to 50 people were inside the store at the time.
Around 6:30 p.m., officers escorted the suspect out of the store as he held his arms up. A short time later, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti confirmed a woman died in the incident.
— Mayor Eric Garcetti (@MayorOfLA) July 22, 2018
In addition to two other people who suffered gunshot wounds, six people — including the suspect — were all taken to the hospital to be treated and were in fair condition, L.A. fire officials said. They ranged from 12 to 81 years old.
It all began with a police pursuit that started in South L.A. just after 1:30 p.m., authorities said. At that time, the suspect had allegedly shot his grandmother and another woman at the scene.
His grandmother was left critically injured after suffering seven gunshot wounds, and she had to undergo surgeries in the hours afterward, police said.
The suspect allegedly kidnapped the other woman, who suffered a grazing gunshot wound to the head. Police later said she was in stable condition.
He fled in his grandmother’s vehicle with the other woman, setting off a chase with police that travelled into the Silver Lake neighborhood.
Derek Anthony, who lives nearby, said he looked through his apartment window and could see a man fleeing from officers in a car with heavy front end damage that was missing a tire.
“He was driving on the rim, being chased by like 20 police and he was shooting out his driver side window as he came around the corner,” Anthony said.
The pursuit ended just outside the Trader Joe’s store on Hyperion Avenue, where the suspect crashed his vehicle at around 3 p.m., authorities said.
Another witness, Dan Zito, said he saw as the man’s car slammed into what appeared to be a telephone pole just before he got into a shoot-out with police.
“He jumps out of the car but he has his back to me and he’s shooting,” Zito said. “He’s popping some rounds off.”
“And then (police) returned the fire … and I’m just shaking,” he said.
Another witness, 91-year-old Don Kohles, told CNN he also saw the crash and watched as the suspect ran towards the store as police went after him.
“I look behind me and there were two police guys coming with heavy guns, then boom boom boom boom, so I go into TJ’s and I see this guy and he comes in,” Kohles said.
“And I see the two front glass doors shot out. I look around and I see a TJ’s employee laying on the ground, then all the help was laying on the ground,” he said. The employee didn’t appear to be injured, he said.
— Ashley Whelan (@AshAttack1) July 21, 2018
The suspect was struck in the arm as he exchanged gunfire with officers, police said.
People fled the store in a panic as police struggled to make contact with the suspect, video of the scene showed.
Some could be seen leaping into the arms of loved ones as they escaped while others remained barricaded inside.
“I just decided to run for the back door, which is usually kept locked, but we had it unlocked at this time,” one Trader Joe’s employee told KTLA. “And then I got into the back parking lot, ducked down under some cars.”
A man who said he was a store manager could be heard on the phone with police as he stood outside the store. “I feel that that guy is in the break room because there’s a trail of blood leading in there,” he was heard saying.
Once the suspect was finally taken into custody around 6:30 p.m., remaining hostages could be seen leaving the store.
Meanwhile, Mayor Garcetti said counseling would be offered to those who were in the store as a family reunification center was set up at 3353 North San Fernando Road.
If you were separated from your loved ones at the #SilverLake #TraderJoes incident, please call 323-561-3211. The reunification center is at LAPD Northeast Division (3353 North San Fernando Road). Our Crisis Response Team is on site to provide support and counseling. pic.twitter.com/R3qG4JpowU
— Mayor Eric Garcetti (@MayorOfLA) July 22, 2018
Later, at the reunification center, Anna Avilez waited for her 26-year-old daughter who had been working inside the store. Francine, her daughter, usually does not work on Saturday afternoons but decided to pick up a 2 p.m. shift, Avilez said.
She said Francine didn’t have her phone so she contacted her cousin through social media to let her family know she’s OK.
“She was able to get out through the back,” her mother told reporters. “I haven’t heard again from her. I was hoping that she was here. I do know that she’s safe because I saw her on a news clip.”
Avilez said she’s in “disbelief” over the situation and is praying for the woman killed and the others injured.
LAPD said the area of Hyperion Avenue between Griffith Park Boulevard and Ettrick Street will be shut down until noon on Sunday.
President Donald Trump tweeted about the hostage situation as it was still unfolding earlier.