5 years later, family continues fight for justice in Trader Joe's police shooting that killed worker

The family of Melyda "Mely" Corado have fought for years to get LAPD to release its report on the shooting.

Amy Powell Image
Sunday, July 23, 2023
Trader Joe's shooting: 5 years later, victim's family still fighting
The family of Melyda "Mely" Corado have fought for years to get LAPD to release its report on the shooting.

ECHO PARK, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- It's been five years since a woman was shot and killed during a police shootout at a Trader Joe's store and her family is continuing their tireless fight for justice.

Dozens of people joined the family of Melyda "Mely" Corado on Saturday for a rally and memorial in Echo Park, one that's been held every year since she was killed.

"It's just an emptiness. You're missing such a crucial part of yourself, so trying to live like that is pretty hard," said the victim's brother, Albert Corado Jr. "We do our best and all but, somedays, it's very difficult."

The crowd spoke about Corado and even held sunflowers, which were her favorite.

On July 21, 2018, Corado was struck by rounds fired by LAPD Officer Sinlen Tse during a shootout at the Silver Lake Trader Joe's store where she worked as an assistant manager. Prior to the shooting, Tse and his partner, Sarah Winans, were pursuing Gene Atkins, who had allegedly shot and wounded his grandmother.

The chase went on for about 15 minutes and covered about nine miles, ending when Atkins' car hit a pole near the market. That is when Tse and Winans exchanged fire with Atkins, accidentally striking Corado.

Her loved ones have fought for years to get the LAPD to release its report on the shooting.

"We have the officers' statements after they've been coached for many months. Basically, we have nothing of substance," said the victim's brother. "They basically said, 'This happened. We did it. We're sort of sorry, but there's also someone else that's responsible and you should take it up with them.'"

A lawsuit was filed in November 2018 against the city of L.A., Tse and Winans.

Meanwhile, Atkins is scheduled to be tried for murder, but the Corado family says they'll continue to fight. They say the yearly gatherings in memory of their loved one give them strength.

"I didn't know any of these people. We met in a tragedy, but now, they're my family too," said the victim's father, Alberto Corado Sr.

LAPD issued the following statement Saturday evening:

"It is with deep sorrow that the Los Angeles Police Department recognizes the five year anniversary of the officer involved shooting incident at the Trader Joe's in Silver Lake. Our heartfelt thoughts and sympathies go out to the Corado family and the others who experienced or suffered any trauma as a result of the incident. Reverence for human life is a core value of the Department and we recognize the tremendous loss suffered by the Corado family and their friends.

As with all Officer Involved Shootings, the Board of Police Commissioners (BOPC) and the Office of Inspector General thoroughly reviewed the investigation. The BOPC found this officer involved shooting to be within Department policy, albeit tragic. Due to pending civil litigation we are limited in our disclosure however; we want to assure our communities that this incident is not taken lightly. The Department is committed to being honest and transparent and will continue in that vein regarding this incident to the extent permissible."