The Terrifying Inside Story Of The Trader Joe’s Hostage Siege

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Image: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

On July 21, 2018, a man crashed his car into a pole outside Trader Joe’s on Hyperion Avenue in Los Angeles, jumped out, ran across the parking lot, took aim with his pistol and fired a few rounds at the police officers pursuing him. They fired back, and he fired back. Bullets flew back and forth across the lot. The man ran inside the store. The police fired more shots and the doors consequently shattered. Staff and customers threw themselves to the ground…

Image: YouTube/ABC News

So began a terrifying hostage situation that could almost have been dreamed up by a Hollywood screenwriter. In fact, real-life hostage dramas are relatively rare but not so rare that SWAT teams aren’t ready to spring into action at a moment’s notice. Before long, Trader Joe’s was surrounded by tactical units, police cars, ambulances and other crisis personnel.

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Image: YouTube/CNN

Inside the store, dozens of shoppers and workers were now being held against their will. Among them was a 55-year-old artist called MaryLinda Moss – a survivor. And several days after the siege, she told her story to the Los Angeles Times. She described a life-threatening encounter that was as humane as it was horrifying.

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