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Deadly LA hostage incident began over ‘domestic dispute’

Deadly LA hostage incident began over 'domestic dispute'

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Employees comfort each other after the harrowing hostage situation

A Los Angeles supermarket hostage incident that left one woman dead began with a domestic dispute, the gunman's family says.

Gene Atkins, 28, had been feuding with his grandmother for weeks over his girlfriend living at her home, the Associated Press reported.

Mr Atkins allegedly shot his grandmother and fled, later barricading himself in the supermarket.

One woman at the supermarket was shot and killed during Saturday's standoff.

According to Los Angeles County records, Mr Atkins is being held on $2m (£1.5m) bail and faces felony murder charges.

Los Angeles police confirmed in a news release on Monday that Mr Atkins had shot his grandmother and injured another woman before fleeing.

A cousin of Mr Atkins, Charlene Egland, told the AP that he had been arguing with his grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Madison, for weeks over Mr Atkins' girlfriend, who had been staying with them in their South Los Angeles home.

Ms Egland said that Ms Madison "didn't want the girl over there anymore".

Ms Madison, 76, had raised Mr Atkins since he was seven years old, Ms Egland told the AP.

Ms Madison was shot after she made a comment about how many television sets Mr Atkins had on, according to Ms Egland. Mr Atkins' girlfriend was allegedly injured by a bullet as well.

The grandmother, shot a number of times, was in a critical condition, police said.

Ms Egland told the AP she tried to call police after hearing another family member shout: "I think Gene shot my mama!"

Mr Atkins fled his grandmother's house in her vehicle along with his girlfriend, according to the police.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption The suspect crashed his car outside the Trader Joe's in Silver Lake, Los Angeles while fleeing police

Police said he fired multiple rounds at officers during the ensuing vehicle pursuit before eventually running into the Trader Joe's supermarket and holding more than 40 employees and customers hostage for hours.

The woman who was killed has been identified by family members as 27-year-old Melyda Corado.

Her brother, Albert Corado, had asked for information about his sister on Twitter during the incident, and later confirmed she had died.

Image Copyright @digitalurn @digitalurn Report
Twitter post by @digitalurn: I’m sad to say she didn’t make it. My baby sister. My world. I appreciate the retweets and the love. Please respect my family’s  privacy as we are still coming to terms with this. #TraderJoes #SilverLake Image Copyright @digitalurn @digitalurn Report

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Police on scene after the three-hour hostage situation on Saturday

How did the hostage situation unfold?

During the three-hour siege, people were seen fleeing the Trader Joe's supermarket, some jumping from windows. One woman was killed.

The suspect, Mr Atkins, allegedly crashed the car and ran inside the shop.

Eyewitness Don Kohles said he saw the car the suspect was driving crash into what was a fire hydrant or a utility pole.

"Then this guy comes out of the car and starts running toward TJs," Mr Kohles told CNN.

"I look behind me and there were two police guys coming with heavy guns, then boom boom boom boom, so I go into TJ's and I see this guy and he comes in.

"And I see the two front glass doors shot out. I look around and I see a TJ's employee laying on the ground.

"We all laid there for about a half-an-hour until LAPD came and got us out. They helped carry me across the parking lot and they sort of tossed me over a wall," Mr Kohles added.

The Los Angeles Police Department said Mr Atkins asked for handcuffs to handcuff himself before he eventually surrendered.

Six people were taken to local hospitals, officials say, but none had any life-threatening injuries.

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