Two years after Mely Corado was killed at Trader Joe’s, her family looks for answers

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Protest march flyer. Photo courtesy of Albert Corado.

Mely Corado was shot and killed by Los Angeles police officers while at her job at the Trader Joe’s in Silver Lake almost two years ago. The officers had opened fire while in pursuit of Gene Atkins, a suspect in a shooting who had fled into the Trader Joe’s after leading police on a chase. The Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners ruled that officers acted within policy, and they were never charged. Atkins is now facing charges for Mely’s murder, under the theory that he set off the chain of events that led to her death. Since Mely’s death, her brother Albert Corado has made it his mission to uplift her name and demand justice. Corado says his sister was a hard worker, and a nurturer. 

“Even though I was supposed to be her big brother, she sometimes took the role of being the more reasonable one,” Corado tells KCRW. “She would always joke that people initially like me better, but that she was the nice one, and that people would soon find that out.”

Corado says that Mely was his best friend. Before her death, she had recently been promoted to manager at her Trader Joe’s location in Silver Lake. Even though he was living in Minneapolis at that time, Corado says they kept in frequent contact over text messages and Instagram. When their father called him on July 21, 2018, Corado says he didn’t take it too seriously. But when his older brother called seconds later, he knew something was wrong. 

“He said, ‘There's an active shooter in Mely’s Trader Joe's’ … we spent about three hours, frantically trying to see where she was trying to see if anybody had seen her if anybody had heard anything,” Corado says. “It wasn't until I talked to her roommate, who was one of my close friends, and he just told me, ‘Albert, we were just told that she's dead.’ ... And I think the thing that always sticks with me is that by the time I got that first call that something was was happening, she was most likely already dead.”

Corado says that the Los Angeles Police Department and Chief Michel Moore made it difficult for the family to get information about Mely’s death. The Corado family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles and the two officers who fired their weapons, Sinlen Tse and Sarah Winans. 

On Sunday, Corado is hosting a march to call for justice for his younger sister. He wants to see charges filed against Tse and Winans:

“The reason we're marching and the reason that my sister isn't here anymore is because the negligence of the LAPD.”

Credits

Host:
Larry Perel

Producer:
Cerise Castle