A suspect accused of shooting his grandmother and girlfriend in South Los Angeles and leading police on a violent car chase that included a gunfire exchange was taken into custody Saturday after a tense, two-hour-plus standoff at a Trader Joe’s market during which a woman was shot to death.
The suspect — described by a relative as a black male in his late 20s — allegedly got into a family dispute and shot his grandmother and girlfriend about 1:30 p.m. in the 1600 block of 32nd Street in South Los Angeles, police said.
The identity of the deceased victim was being withheld pending notification of kin, police said
LAPD Sgt. Barry Montgomery told reporters the suspect then took his grandmother’s car — a 2015 four-door Toyota Camry sedan — and fled the shooting scene with his girlfriend in the vehicle.
The suspect’s cousin, Charleo Egland, 28, told City News Service she did not know why he would shoot their grandmother but said her grandmother did not want his girlfriend — who Egland said was around 20 years old — in the house.
Egland said she saw a gun under one of the suspect’s pillows Friday.
Egland said that during a family squabble Saturday, the 78-year-old grandmother went outside to bring her daughter, the suspect’s aunt, a glass of water.
“He (then) went in his room and grabbed a gun and shot her,” Egland told City News, saying that he fired several shots before he and his girlfriend fled in the grandmother’s car.
The wounded grandmother underwent surgery, and so far was “holding her own,” Egland said.
The suspect did not have a mobile phone, but called his family from the Trader Joe’s to find out how his grandmother was, Egland said.
Police later spotted the vehicle in the Hollywood area and gave chase, leading to Silver Lake, where the suspect crashed the Toyota into a power pole around 3:30 p.m. in front of the Trader Joe’s supermarket in the 2700 block of Hyperion Avenue and fled inside — apparently firing at pursuing officers as he ran. Officers returned fire, but it was unclear if the suspect was hit. The rear window of the Toyota was shattered by gunfire.
An employee of the store told ABC7 he heard multiple gunshots as the man ran into the store, but he did not know if anyone was injured inside.
It was unknown how many people were inside the store when the suspect ran in. A throng of police and fire crews surrounded the store by 4 p.m. Aerial TV footage showed what appeared to be a store employee dragging a woman from the grocery store.
Police also were seen carrying children away from the store, and some Trader Joe’s employees could be seen escaping the shop by climbing down a ladder hanging from a window near the rear of the building, assisted by a waiting officer.
Los Angeles Fire Department officials said they had taken a 20-year-old female patient, to a hospital in stable condition.
Police amassed outside the store, and around 5:30 p.m., at least three people who appeared to be customers came out of the store with their hands in the air — apparently hostages who were released or shoppers who had managed to elude the gunman.
“We know we have people inside, we just don’t know how many,” Montgomery said.
The store employee who spoke to ABC7 said he tried to rush people toward the back of the store to an exit, but he said he had no idea how many people remained inside. Another witness told CBS2 that he spoke to a man who said his children were still in the store.
The LAPD went on a citywide tactical alert, keeping all available officers on duty beyond their shifts to ensure enough personnel were available to respond to the barricade situation.
President Donald J. Trump posted on Twitter that he was “watching Los Angeles possible hostage situation very closely. Active barricaded suspect. LAPD working with federal law enforcement.”
Los Angeles fire crews set up a triage area outside the store, but as of early evening there was no sign that any additional patients were being treated.