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LAPD officer who shot Trader Joe's manager complied with policy, Police Commission rules

Cindy Chang, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

The LAPD had released video of the dramatic incident, which began in South L.A. when Atkins allegedly shot his grandmother several times, then forced a young woman into a Toyota Camry and drove to Hollywood.

Police used the Camry's anti-theft device to track the car and began pursuing it up Vine Street. At one point, the driver pulled into a gas station and attempted to carjack a customer.

As Tse and Winans continued to tail the Camry, bullets flew through the car's back windshield.

Forty-five seconds later, the Camry veered into a utility pole in front of the Trader Joe's. The driver bolted for the entrance, shooting wildly from his hip, and the two officers returned fire.

The officer who fired the fatal shot told investigators: "I shot at the suspect in order to defend myself against him because he was shooting at me to prevent (imminent) death on me and my partner ... I was scared at the time."

The other officer, who shot three rounds at Atkins, said there did not appear to be anyone else in the line of fire.


"I heard that first one but I wanted to make sure just because I was getting out of the car with, you know, the background and everything," the officer told investigators. "That I had a good sight picture and, you know, that there wasn't anybody else that was going to be in the way."

After the initial exchange of gunfire, the officers took cover behind a low wall. The gunman fired more shots at them, one round ricocheting with a loud ping.

Meanwhile, according to Moore's report, officers secured the rear door of the Trader Joe's while other officers rescued children from a car in the parking lot.

The woman in the Camry with Atkins was taken to the hospital with a gunshot wound to her forehead. He had shot her during the initial incident at his grandmother's house, the report said.


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