The Heartbreaking Story of the Trader Joe’s Armed Standoff

One hostage put her hand on the gunman’s heart.

During the three-hour siege at Trader Joe’s in Silver Lake, the wounded shooter told one of his hostages that it was all over for him.

“I just shot at a cop,” Gene Atkins said to MaryLinda Moss, according to The Los Angeles Times. 

Moss worries that a suicidal gunman would take everyone done with him. Through a series of disasterous decisions made by Atkins, there were dosens of strangers in the grocery store that was now surrounded by SWAT teams, helicopters, squad cars and ambulances.

So Moss put her hand on Atkin’s heart.

“I told him: ‘There’s always hope. I know you have a good heart, and I know you don’t want to hurt anybody,’” she said to The Los Angeles Times. 

According to prosecutors, earlier that day, Atkins wounded his grandmother during a family fight in South Los Angeles. He then forced his girlfriend into a car and fled. He led police on a chase, which disn’t end until he crashed outside Trader Joe’s.

“When you put your hand on somebody’s heart,” Moss said to The Los Angeles Times 10 days later, “it grounds them. I was trying to ground him, and manipulate him, yes, in the best way.”

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