Where Are the Trader Joe’s Survivors Now? – Several people were held hostage at a Trader Joe’s in Silver Lake, California, on a lovely Saturday afternoon in July 2018. ‘48 Hours: Standoff at Trader Joe’s,’ a CBS News special, goes into the stories of some of the people inside and how they dealt with the events of the next few hours.
Lynne Westafer, Cory Page, Arta Gjonbalaj, MaryLinda Moss, and Mike D’Angelo all appeared on the show and discussed what went through their heads while dealing with a high-pressure situation. Fortunately, everyone survived the ordeal. But, if you’re wondering where they are now, here’s what we know.
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What is Lynne Westafer’s Now?
Lynne’s day began normally enough, but quickly devolved into a nightmare. She went running a few errands after her yoga lesson and ended up in the Trader Joe’s store. Suddenly, there was a stampede all around after hearing the loud sound and then the sound of gunshots.
Lynne quickly found that an intruder had gained entry, and she didn’t even have her phone with her. “Do I run or do I stay here?” she pondered. When a man threatens to shoot you, it’s a life or death situation… I couldn’t make up my mind. “I was just paralysed.”
Lynne was later escorted to the front of the store as one of the 13 hostages, and she remembers seeing the attacker being helped by others while carrying a gun. She wondered why they didn’t just take the gun from him at that time.
During one stressful moment in the afternoon, the suspected gunman, Gene Atkins, threatened to shoot anyone inside if the snipers stationed across the store didn’t move. Lynne afterwards chastised the police for their handling of the issue.
Lynne eventually made it out of the situation unscathed. She was working for CBS at the time as a promotions producer, but she has since left the company. Lynne is now working as a manager for a community recovery and social support programme.
In addition to participating in the advisory group, she is an adjunct instructor at a community college. Lynne is still a resident of Los Angeles, California.
What Happened to Cory Page?
Cory initially mistook the situation for a mass shooting. “It’s like rerunning every previous mass massacre in my thoughts… over and over again because that’s what I thought was happening,” he said. “The closet was actually fairly small,” he added, hiding in the back of the storage closet. “My knees were almost in my mouth,” she said.
Inside, there were more than 20 people, all of them were fully exposed, according to Cory. He texted his mother and a friend, terrified. Cory became tearful when the SWAT squad arrived at the closet to release them because he had kept everything pent up until then. Cory was employed for the Walt Disney Company at the time of the incident.
Later, he worked as a Climate Strategies Consultant for a different organisation. Cory has been a Landscape Architecture student at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, since 2021.
Where is Arta Gjonbalaj Today?
Arta, a student, and model, was staying with a friend at the time and decided to go grocery shopping for the week. So, on July 21, 2018, she went to Trader Joe’s for the first time. Arta, like Cory, originally mistook the shooting for a mass shooting. She messaged her mother afterward, after the assailant urged everyone not to use their phones, and she honestly believed it was the last time she’d speak to anyone.
As one of the 13 hostages in the front, Arta was with Lynne. After an hours-long experience, the attacker began releasing captives, and Arta noticed a mother and daughter duo preparing to depart. “At that point, something urged me to pretend she was your mother,” she explained. So I took her hand, and she took mine back.”
Fortunately, the gunman trusted Arta and let her leave with her daughter. Arta is doing much better now. She received her Forensic Psychology degree in 2019 and has continued her modelling career. Arta appears to spend time in both New York and Los Angeles, and has attended New York Fashion Week.
Where is MaryLinda Moss Today?
That afternoon, Mary was with her daughter. “My kid didn’t have her shoes on,” she continued, “so I told her, ‘I’m going in right now, and you can follow me in.’” However, the gunshots began soon after, and Mary was forced to flee. “I was… calling my kid at the same moment,” she recalled. “Stay in the car,” I said. Get down to business. Hide in the vehicle’s trunk. There’s a shooter on the loose.”
Later, the assailant begged Mary to massage his hand, and she acted as a go-between for the cops and him. “I know you have a good heart, and I know you don’t want to hurt anybody,” Mary told the attacker, who replied, “I know you have a good heart, and I know you don’t want to hurt anybody.”
The gunman eventually decided to bind himself and go away, although he feared being shot. Mary and three other hostages were present at the moment. She persuaded him to join them on their walk, which eventually led to his capitulation.
Mary claimed that her previous experiences helped her better comprehend what Gene, the alleged gunman, was going through. She talked about having a difficult childhood and abusing drugs and alcohol before becoming sober at the age of 18.
“I wish I had met you sooner,” Gene said to Mary, according to Mary’s memory. “All I needed was someone to talk to.” Mary, her husband, daughter, and son now live in Los Angeles. She is an artist and the founder of Source Art, a company that specialises in curated fine art for interior design projects.
Where is Mike D’Angelo Today?
Mike had gone to the store to get some groceries for his mother and their dog. He was a part of the hostage crisis that day, as were many others. Mike even noticed the gunman and decided to do what he instructed. “I got him whatever he needed,” Mike added. “A bottle of Jack Daniel’s, some water, and some orange juice.” He even went to check on Melyda Corado, who had been killed in the crossfire.
Mike was the one who later walked out to get the handcuffs that Gene supposedly requested. Despite the authorities’ requests for him to leave, he fearlessly walked back in. “I didn’t want to let the folks down or damage anyone, so I decided to stay,” Mike explained. Mike appears to still reside in California, where he looks for his mother. Aside from that, he’s had a learning disability since he was a child.