LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Two Los Angeles police officers acted lawfully when they engaged in a gunfight with a suspect outside of a Silver Lake Trader Joe's and killed an assistant store manager in 2018, according to a report released Tuesday by the District Attorney's office.
In the 22-page assessment of the shooting, the office found that officers Sinlen Tse and Sarah Winans were "justified in using deadly force in an attempt to stop" the suspect, Gene Evin Atkins. Atkins was shot in the left elbow as he ran into the store after prosecutors said he crashed an allegedly stolen vehicle and opened fire on police.
Assistant store manager Melyda Corado was "accidentally struck by gunfire when she ran towards the front doors," of the Trader Joe's upon hearing the crash.
The District Attorney's Office stated in the report that there were no bystanders visible behind Atkins or in the line of fire when the officers shot at Atkins.
"The fact that Corado was struck accidentally by Tse's gunfire is tragic, however, it does not negate the lawfulness of the officers' actions in using deadly force to stop a dangerous fleeing felon," the report said.
Though he did not shoot Corado, Atkins was charged with murder in connection with her death, because prosecutors allege his actions set of the chain of events that led to the fatal shooting of the 27-year-old woman.
The assessment of the shooting was dated Nov. 30, before new District Attorney George Gascón was sworn into office. It was not immediately clear if he planned to review the case.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)
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