Protesters Demand Justice For Mely Corado, Trader Joe's Employee Killed By LAPD

Mely Corado's father, Albert, addresses protesters outside the Trader Joe's in Silver Lake where she was killed in 2018 by a police bullet during a shootout. (Josie Huang/LAist)

Nearly two years after Mely Corado was killed in a police shootout at the Trader Joe's in Silver Lake where she worked, protesters on Sunday marched through the neighborhood in her memory while calling on the LAPD to be held accountable for her death.

Her family led hundreds from the Northeast station of the LAPD — where her father Albert had gone to identify her body with photos — to the Trader Joe's where police in pursuit of an armed suspect fired inside and one of their bullets struck her.

Along the way, marchers stopped in the middle of main thoroughfares in Atwater Village and Silver Lake, many of them holding sunflowers, Corado's favorite flower.

As the march got under way shortly after 3 p.m., Albert Corado faced the LAPD station, and shouted, "You guys killed my daughter! You're going to burn for it!"

The Corado family has sued the city for negligence in Mely's death in the shootout on July 21, 2018, and expects the case to go to trial next year.

LAPD officers that day had been pursuing an armed motorist named Gene Evin Atkins, who had allegedly attacked his grandmother and girlfriend. The chase ended up in Silver Lake, where Atkins shot at officers Sinlen Tse and Sarah Winans in their patrol car.

Mourners left flowers at a memorial for Melyda Corado days after she was killed in a July 21, 2018 shootout between police and a gunman at the Silver Lake where she worked. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

When Atkins crashed his car, he ran into the Trader Joe's on Hyperion Ave. and exchanged fire with police. One of the officer's bullets hit Corado who died at the store. Atkins held hostages for nearly four hours before he surrendered.

Once the marchers arrived at the store, Corado's older brother, also named Albert, told protesters that it's been hard for the family to get answers about her death. Two days after the shooting, LAPD Chief Michel Moore admitted Corado had been killed by an officer's bullet. But Moore put a security hold on Mely's autopsy, so the family didn't know any details for a year, and only after they went to court.

"We knew Mely was dead, but we didn't know how long it took her to die, we didn't know where she was shot," the younger Albert Corado said.

The Los Angeles Police Commission last year ruled that the officers had acted within department policy.

Protesters gather across the street from the LAPD's Northeast station prior to marching to the Trader Joe's in Silver Lake where Mely Corado was killed by LAPD in a shootout in 2018. (Josie Huang/LAist)

The Corado family had invited Mayor Eric Garcetti to Sunday's event, but the mayor did not attend and had also been absent from Mely's funeral, her brother noted.

"He insulted my father, who was at the lowest point of his life," Corado said.

Non-family members who spoke included Melina Abdullah, co-founder of Black Lives Matter-LA, and Nithya Raman, who is running against incumbent councilmember David Ryu for Council District 4, where the Trader Joe's in Silver Lake is located.

The younger Albert Corado, who is active in efforts to defund and abolish the police, has worked on Raman's campaign. He said he regretted letting Ryu speak at an event marking the one-year anniversary of his sister's death because the councilmember had accepted money from the Los Angeles police union. Ryu returned the money last month amid criticism.

The Corado family said it wants the two LAPD officers involved in the Trader Joe's shooting to be charged with her death. Currently, Atkins is facing charges in Corado's death even though he did not fire the bullet that killed her.

The family said it also wants to keep Mely's name alive and to dismantle the current leadership helming Los Angeles — Garcetti, Moore, and Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey.

Mely Corado's niece, Leila Mendoza, said she will never be able to hug her aunt again because of the LAPD.

"Who will we call when the police are the murderers?" Mendoza said, to encouraging applause from the crowd.

Afterward, protesters waved their sunflowers for a photo with Mely Corado's family, then placed them along the side of the Trader Joe's.

The store closed for the protest, then stayed closed for the rest of the day.

More photos from today:

The crowd waves sunflowers behind Mely Corado's family. (From l. to r.): Brothers Albert Corado and Michael Mendoza, niece Leila Mendoza and father Albert Corado. (Josie Huang/LAist)
Protesters gather at Trader Joe's in Silver Lake to remember Mely Corado, who was killed there in 2018 by LAPD gunfire. July 19, 2020. (Josie Huang/LAist)
Protesters on Sunday rested flowers on the side of the Trader Joe's in Silver Lake in honor of Mely Corado. (Josie Huang/LAist)
Protesters gather at the LAPD's Northeast station prior to marching to the Trader Joe's in Silver Lake where Mely Corado was killed by LAPD in a shootout in 2018. (Josie Huang/LAist)
Hundreds of protesters marched for Mely Corado, many bearing signs advocating for defunding or abolition of police. (Josie Huang/LAist)
Sunflowers were being given out to protesters because they were Mely Corado's favorite flowers. (Josie Huang/LAist)