Monday 17 December 2018

Gunman turns himself in after he kills hostage during shop siege

A woman is helped by paramedics after she was held hostage. Photo: AP
A woman is helped by paramedics after she was held hostage. Photo: AP

Andrew Cullen

Police in Los Angeles arrested a man who took hostages and barricaded himself inside a Trader Joe's grocery store, ending a three-hour standoff during which he fatally shot a woman.

The man, who was chased by police on Saturday after he was suspected of repeatedly shooting his grandmother and another woman in a separate part of the city, crashed his car outside the Trader Joe's, where he exchanged gunfire with police and entered the crowded store.

He was shot in the arm and talked with police over the phone to negotiate a surrender, LA mayor Eric Garcetti said.

The man (28) emerged from the store and surrounded by police. He has not been named.

"Inside the Trader Joe's the suspect shot a female victim. She was pronounced dead at scene," police said on Twitter.

Once he was in custody, about 20 people spilled out on to the street.

Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti at the scene. Photo: Getty Images
Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti at the scene. Photo: Getty Images

The dead woman has not officially been identified, but ABC News named her as Melyda Corado, the store manager.

"The suspect at the end asked for handcuffs. He handcuffed himself and then released himself into the custody of LA police," Mr Garcetti said.

During the standoff, aerial footage from TV stations NBC Los Angeles and CBS Los Angeles showed people leaving a store window using a rope ladder and police carrying children to safety through a parking lot in the city's Silver Lake neighbourhood.

Trader Joe's employee Zach Johnston was among those who escaped shortly after hearing gunshots.

Police use a mirror to see inside the Trader Joe’s store during the three-hour siege. Photo: Christian Dunlop via AP
Police use a mirror to see inside the Trader Joe’s store during the three-hour siege. Photo: Christian Dunlop via AP

"I was in the back room and all of a sudden I started to see customers spilling through the door going to the back room," he said. "I immediately heard some gunfire, like four pops."

Johnston and about 15 customers and co-workers ran out a back door to safety, he said.

More than an hour after the standoff began, a few hostages were shown on TV leaving the store through the front door. Some said they had hidden in employee areas in the back of the store.

President Donald Trump said he was watching the situation closely. "Active barricaded suspect. LAPD working with Federal Law Enforcement," Trump wrote on Twitter before the arrest.

Rescued Trader Joe’s employees comfort each other. Photo: AP
Rescued Trader Joe’s employees comfort each other. Photo: AP

Trader Joe's said in a statement that the incident "has been an incredible trauma".

"Our thoughts are with our crew members and customers. Our focus is on doing whatever we can to support them at this time," it added.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News