NewsNational News


L.A. Trader Joe’s standoff: Employee dead, wounded suspect in custody

Posted at 9:48 PM, Jul 21, 2018

Los Angeles police arrested a man outside a Trader Joe’s on Saturday evening, bringing an apparent end to an incident in which a man barricaded himself inside the grocery store for hours after running from police.

A woman inside the store was killed, Mayor Eric Garcetti said Saturday at a news conference. He did not identify her or say how she died. The suspect was wounded in his left arm after exchanging shots with police, Garcetti told reporters.

The LA Fire Department said six people ranging from ages 12 to 81 were taken to the hospital following the incident. All were in fair condition with no life-threatening injuries, a spokeswoman said.

“We have successfully taken the suspect into custody without incident,” Los Angeles police said on Twitter after the standoff ended.

Here are the latest developments:

• About 40 people were inside the store in the Silver Lake neighborhood when the armed man entered, Police Chief Michael Moore said.

• The suspect, 28, shot his grandmother and a younger female earlier in the day, police said. Earlier, police had described the suspect as being in his late teens.

• He ran into the Trader Joe’s after crashing his grandmother’s car outside the store during a police pursuit, police said.

• After talking with hostage negotiators, the suspect handcuffed himself and surrendered outside the store, Moore said.

• He said the man shot his grandmother seven times and she has undergone a series of surgeries at a local hospital. Her condition was not given.

Events began with a shooting in the 1600 block of 32nd Street around 1:30 p.m. (4:30 p.m. ET) in which an elderly woman and a young woman were victims, LAPD Officer Mike Lopez told CNN. Their conditions were not immediately known.

The suspect, described by police and witnesses as an African-American male, fled in his grandmother’s 2015 Toyota Camry, taking the younger victim with him. He fired multiple rounds at officers during the police pursuit, Lopez said. None of the officers was injured.

The chase ended when the suspect crashed the vehicle and ran into the busy store on Hyperion Avenue, Lopez said.

Some customers immediately ran out of the store and police surrounded the building. Over the course of the three-hour standoff, several people walked out of the store with their hands up. Some employees climbed out a back window on a chain ladder.

Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman Margaret Stewart said a 20-year-old woman was transferred to a hospital in fair condition. She was removed from a vehicle, not the inside of the store, Stewart said. It was not immediately known whether that woman was the one from the original shooting.

Don Kohles, 91, told CNN he saw the car crash into a fire hydrant or a utility pole in front of the Trader Joe’s.

“Then this guy comes out of the car and starts running toward TJs,” Kohles said. “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, then all the help was laying on the ground,” he said. The employee did not appear to be hurt, Kohles aid.

“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,” Kohles said.

Witness Devin Field said it appeared traffic prevented the suspect from escaping police when he crashed in front of the store.

The suspect had a pistol in his hand and “just started opening fire on the police behind him,” Field said. When police returned fire, Field and others got down on the ground, he said.

“After he was inside the store for a little while they had me crawl away from the scene and run away around the corner,” Field said.

“He was very focused in getting out of the cops’ vision,” witness Miguel Trujillo said. “The exchange of bullets were all in an instant.”

Public safety agencies responded in force, with an armored police vehicle parked outside the store and seven ambulances and dozens of law enforcement vehicles arriving on the scene.

Aerial video shot from a helicopter showed armed officers carrying shields and a man walking out with his hands up. It also showed officers carrying a person who appeared to be injured.

A manager at Gelson’s Market, across the street from Trader Joe’s, said people inside the market heard shots fired outside. Many people yelled and dropped to the floor, she said. The manager did not wish to give her name.

No one inside Gelson’s was hurt, to her knowledge. The store was on lockdown, but customers were allowed to exit through the back of the building.

CNN spoke to employees at nearby Jersey Mike’s and What the Fish. Both stores were also on lockdown and no one was injured.