LOS ANGELES — The Trader Joe’s store in Silver Lake reopened Thursday, almost two weeks after an assistant manager was fatally shot by police gunfire after a chase with a suspect ended at the store.
In a statement Tuesday, Trader Joe’s said the time off allowed employees time to grieve.
“While we remain heartbroken over the tragic death of Melyda Corado and the trauma our Crew Members and customers have suffered, we recognize that moving forward is an important part of supporting the healing of this community,” the statement read.
Officials said they took the opportunity to make some renovations at the store during the time that it was closed.
“It means so much to us to reopen our doors to this community, which has shown us an overwhelming amount of kindness and support,” Ben Myers, executive vice president of stores said Thursday.
The incident unfolded July 21 when the suspect, Gene Atkins, 28, allegedly shot his grandmother and another woman during a dispute in South Los Angeles. Atkins then allegedly took the younger woman in his grandmother’s vehicle before police caught up with him in Hollywood. During a pursuit, Atkins allegedly shot at police through the back window of the vehicle.
He eventually crashed into a light pole outside the grocery store along Hyperion Avenue and ran out, continuing to shoot at LAPD officers, authorities said.
As Atkins was running in, Corado was running out and was caught in the crossfire. LAPD later said that she died after being struck by a bullet from an LAPD officer’s gun. He eventually surrendered after holding several people hostage inside the store.
Less than a week after the shooting, Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore released dash and bodycam video of the incident. He called the ordeal a tragedy that was predicated by Atkins’ violent actions.
Atkins faces several charges, including murder and attempted murder.
Customer Judy Mumcian on Thursday said the incident was “sad” and “random.” She said the neighborhood is usually safe and quite.
“Something like this happening, it makes an impact,” she said.
Employees at the Trader Joe’s were wearing tie-dye shirts with the words “Silver Lake Always” in the back to honor Corado’s bright and energetic personality.
“It’s our happy day,” Juliette Garcia said after being able to return to the store to shop. “We just want to go in and hug everybody and say ‘thank you for coming back and welcome back,’ and just shop and be happy again.”
A memorial for Corado remains outside the store, and customers continued to add cards and flowers to it.
“It’s a sad day, but it’s a glorious sunrise, and maybe that’s our special friend up in heaven saying ‘OK, we’re through it,'” Tom LaBonge, a former Los Angeles city councilman, said after visiting the store early Thursday.