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Restaurants Near Silver Lake Trader Joe’s Were Caught in Hostage Standoff Crossfire

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Say Cheese, What The Fish, and Hyperion Gelato were in the middle of the hostage standoff

Trader Joe’s hostage
A photo from Saturday’s hostage standoff
Arman Peter Hakopyan

On Saturday, July 21, a lone gunman shot his grandmother, took his girlfriend hostage, then led police though a citywide chase, only to end up in an hours-long standoff with the police at the Trader Joe’s in Silver Lake. When it was all over, a Trader Joe’s employee named Melyda Corado was killed at the scene, and the suspect was taken into custody. Just across the parking lot, three restaurants found themselves in the middle of the standoff.

At 3:30 p.m. on July 21, the suspect allegedly crashed into a power pole in front of Trader Joe’s on Hyperion Avenue. Witnesses saw the suspect get out of the car and exchange fire with law enforcement before fleeing into the store. According to The Mercury News, police set themselves up on the perimeter of the store, with snipers on the roof at Say Cheese, a cheese store and restaurant that overlooks the Trader Joe’s parking lot.

Next door to Say Cheese, employees at sushi shop What The Fish had an unfortunate front row seat to the scene. What The Fish employee Davonee Sou shared what happened while opening the restaurant for dinner. “There were no customers yet. All of a sudden we heard tires screeching and our boss told us to get on the floor,” explained Sou. “We locked the door and crawled away. We didn’t know where it was coming from. And we couldn’t go anywhere until it was over.” Sou also knew the deceased victim, and referred to Corado as “Mel.”

Two doors away, Hyperion Gelato co-owner Arman Peter Hakopyan stood in front of the business changing a speaker. “Next thing I know, I hear tires screeching, and the guy exiting his car and started firing at the cops,” said Hakopyan. “The cops start firing back at him. I thought it was firecrackers. He ran into the [Trader Joe’s] store after. Then a flood of cops. We stayed inside, and one of the Trader Joe’s workers rushed in here.”

The standoff lasted until 5:30 p.m., when the suspect surrendered to police.