LOS ANGELES (CN) – The family of a Trader Joe’s manager who was killed after being hit by an LAPD officer’s bullet during a shootout with a suspect following a high-speed chase this past summer has filed a wrongful death suit against the city Thursday.
Melyda Corado’s family also claim that the Los Angeles Police Department has conspired to cover up wrongdoing during the incident by preparing false reports and blocking access to other information like an autopsy report and surveillance footage from inside the grocery store.
Corado, 27, worked at the Trader Joe’s grocery store in the Silver Lake neighborhood of LA when Gene Atkins, 28, crashed his car into a light pole during a high-speed chase by police.
Officers exchanged gunfire with Atkins as he ran toward the grocery store and officers took cover behind a wall across from the grocery store entrance.
Corado was walking toward the entrance to warn customers to stay away from the crash when a bullet struck her in the arm and traveled up to her head, according to police. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Her family said Corado, Mely to her family, has been disrespected since then. Her brother Albert Corado Jr., who was joined by their father Albert Corado Sr. and their attorneys at a Thursday morning press conference, said police have ignored their requests for documents pertaining to his sister’s death.
Dashcam and bodycam footage from the July 21 incident was released less than 72 hours after the incident by Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore. Moore spoke with Albert Corado Jr. a day after the shooting and said the police would answer any questions the family had. After that, the family claims they were blocked from accessing the autopsy report.
“We’ve had nothing but empty gestures,” said Albert Corado Jr.
“We have been stuck in a time capsule of pain and distress,” said Albert Corado Sr.
The Corados accuse police of negligence when they resorted to deadly force and fired toward the grocery store filled with customers on a Saturday afternoon.
Melyda’s autopsy report has been placed under a hold, according to the family’s attorneys John C. Taylor of Taylor & Ring and Ron Rosengarten of Rosengarten & Associates. Police also ordered a toxicology report which they said would ordinarily only be done for a suspect to determine if they were under the influence of narcotics – not on an innocent bystander shot and killed by police.
“They’re treating the Corado family like Mely was a suspect,” said Taylor. “We’re looking for accountability.”
Rosengarten said they are aware sections of a police report have been circulated in the media. The LAPD said it would not comment on pending litigation or offer any “updates” on the investigation.
Police say before the July 21 pursuit, Atkins shot his grandmother and a 17-year-old girl, whom he kidnapped and took with him on the pursuit. He also took everyone inside the grocery store hostage before surrendering to police.
Atkins faces a murder charge due to Corado’s death, as well as attempted murder, false imprisonment and other charges.
Recently, Atkins fired his public defender and given permission by a judge to represent himself.
The Corados general and special damages from the city and punitive damages from LAPD officers Sinlen Tse and Sarah Winans on claims including negligence, negligent hiring, wrongful death and violation of California’s civil rights laws.