LA County Must Turn Over Autopsy of Woman Killed in Shootout

Video from an LAPD officer’s body camera during a shootout outside a Trader Joe’s supermarket in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles. (LAPD via YouTube)

LOS ANGELES (CN) – A California judge ordered Los Angeles County and Trader Joe’s market to turn over discovery Friday in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of a woman who was shot and killed by police officer during a shootout with a man following a high-speed chase.

When Melyda Corado heard a crash outside the Trader Joe’s market where she worked last summer, she walked to the front of the store to make sure no one was hurt.

The 27-year-old store manager was struck and killed by a police officer’s bullet during a shootout in front of the Silver Lake neighborhood market in Los Angeles.

Corado’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles and the two officers who fired their guns at Gene Atkins, the man who police say shot his grandmother, kidnapped and shot his girlfriend and led officers on a high-speed chase that ended at the market. Atkins’ grandmother and girlfriend survived but he’s been charged with Corado’s murder because prosecutors say his actions resulted in her death.

Corado’s family subpoenaed for discovery in the wrongful death lawsuit, but were told that a security hold was placed on the documents they wanted.

On Friday, LA County Superior Court Judge Malcolm Mackey ordered the county to provide Corado’s family with a copy of her autopsy report and directed Trader Joe’s – which is not a party to the lawsuit – to hand over surveillance footage from the July 2018 incident.

The family’s attorney, John Cornell Taylor from Taylor Ring, said officers took a SIM card from the Trader Joe’s market as part of their investigation and left a copy with the market.

“The family has still not seen the last minutes of their daughter’s life,” Taylor said in court.

Dawn Sestito with ‎O’Melveny & Myers, an attorney for Trader Joe’s, told Mackey the Corado family should get the surveillance footage from the city, but Mackey disagreed and issued a protective order for the discovery to be handed over to the family.

Outside the courtroom, Melyda Corado’s father Albert Corado said he was pleased with the court’s decision to move their case forward.

Albert J. Corado, Melyda’s brother, said, “I’m pleased also. There are more small victories to come.”

The LAPD released video footage from the pursuit and shootout a few days after the incident. Police Chief Michel Moore at the time said officers had to make a “split-second” decision when they fired at Atkins, who police say fired over his shoulder as he ran toward the market.

Atkins barricaded himself in the market with customers for several hours after the shootout and eventually surrendered to police.

An email to the LAPD for comment on the status of the officer-involved shooting investigation was not immediately answered.

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