Where Are the Trader Joe’s Survivors Now?

Image Credit: CBS News

One sunny Saturday afternoon in July 2018, several people found themselves in a hostage situation at a Trader Joe’s in Silver Lake, California. CBS News’ ’48 Hours: Standoff at Trader Joe’s’ delves into the story of some of the people inside and how they dealt with everything that unfolded over the next few hours. On the show, Lynne Westafer, Cory Page, Arta Gjonbalaj, MaryLinda Moss, and Mike D’Angelo shared what went through their minds as they dealt with a high-pressure situation. Fortunately, everyone got out alive. But if you’re curious about where they might be today, here’s what we know.

Where is Lynne Westafer Today?

Lynne Westafer’s day started as normal but soon turned into a nightmare. After her yoga class, she decided to run a few errands, eventually ending up in the Trader Joe’s store. Suddenly, there was chaos after hearing a loud screech followed by gunshots. Lynne soon learned that an assailant had gotten inside, and she didn’t even have her phone with her. She remembered, “Do I run, or do I stay here? When … the guy’s threatening to shoot you, that’s a life or death decision … I couldn’t make a decision. I just was paralyzed.”

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Later on, Lynne was one of the 13 hostages taken to the front of the store, and she remembered looking at the attacker being helped by others while he had a gun with him. At that point, she wondered why didn’t they just grab the firearm from him. During one tense part of the afternoon, Gene Atkins, the alleged gunman, threatened to shoot people inside if the snipers didn’t move from being stationed across the store. Lynne was later critical of how the police handled that situation.

Ultimately, Lynne got out of the situation unhurt. At the time, she was working as a Promotions Producer for CBS but has since moved on from that role. Lynne is now employed as a Manager at a program that provides community recovery and social support. She is also an Adjunct Instructor at a community college in addition to serving on the advisory committee. Lynne continues to live in Los Angeles, California.

Where is Cory Page Now?

Initially, Cory Page thought it was a mass shooting scenario. He said, “I’m sort of like rerunning every single previous mass shooting in my head … over and over again because that’s what I thought was happening.” He was hiding in a closet a the back of the store and said, “The closet was actually pretty small. … My knees were like, you know, almost in my mouth.”

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There were more than 20 people inside, and Cory said they were fully exposed. He was petrified and texted his mother and a friend. Once the SWAT team got to the closet to free them, Cory got emotional because until then, he had everything bottled up. At the time of the incident, Cory worked for the Walt Disney Company. In July 2019, he switched to another firm where he worked as a Climate Strategies Consultant. Since 2021, Cory has been studying Landscape Architecture at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Where is Arta Gjonbalaj Now?

At the time of the incident, Arta Gjonbalaj, a student and model, was living at a friend’s place and decided to get groceries for the week. Thus, on July 21, 2018, which seemed like just another Saturday, she made that fateful trip to Trader Joe’s. Like Cory, even Arta thought it was a mass shooting initially. Later, when the assailant asked everyone not to use their phones, she messaged her family members and truly believed it would be the last time she’d talk to anyone. Arta was with Lynne Westafer as part of the 13 hostages in the front.

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After an ordeal that lasted for hours, the attacker began to let hostages go, and Arta saw a mother and daughter duo about to leave. She said, “At that point, something told me, pretend she’s your mom. … So I grabbed her hand, and she grabs mine back.” Thankfully, the shooter believed Arta, letting her out with the daughter. Today, Arta is doing much better. She graduated in 2019 with a degree in Forensic Psychology and has continued her modeling career. Arta seems to split her time between New York and Los Angeles and has been part of the New York Fashion Week.

Where is MaryLinda Moss Now?

MaryLinda Moss was with her daughter that afternoon. She added, “My daughter didn’t have her shoes on, so I said, ‘I’m gonna go in right now, and you can follow me in.'” But soon after that, the gunfire began, with Mary getting down. She recalled, “I was … calling my daughter at the same time. … I said … “Stay in the car. … Get down. Hide in the bottom of the car. There’s a shooter.”

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Later on, the assailant asked Mary to massage his hand and shoulder and worked as an intermediary between the police and him. She remembered the attacker telling her that he didn’t want to hurt anybody, to which Mary said, “I know you have a good heart, and I know you don’t want to hurt anybody.” Eventually, the gunman decided to handcuff himself and walk out, but he was afraid of getting shot. At the time, there was Mary and three other hostages. She convinced him to walk together with them, eventually leading to the assailant’s surrender.

Mary said that her past experiences helped her better understand what the alleged gunman, Gene, was going through. She talked about having a troubled early life, using drugs and alcohol before she got sober at 18. Mary recalled the attacker telling her, “I wish I had met you earlier. I just needed somebody to talk to.” Today, Mary lives in Los Angeles with her husband, daughter, and son. She is an artist and the founder of Source Art, a resource for curated fine art when it comes to interior design projects.

Where is Mike D’Angelo Now?

Mike had gone to the store to pick up some food for his mother and their pet dog. That afternoon, like many others, he was part of the hostage situation. Mike even saw the shooter and chose to comply with whatever he said. Mike added, “I got him whatever he needed. Some water, orange juice, and a bottle of Jack Daniel’s.” At one point, he even convinced the gunman to allow him to check on store manager Melyda Corado, who died during the crossfire.

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Later on, Mike was the one who walked out to pick up the handcuffs that Gene allegedly asked for. He bravely walked back in despite the authorities gesturing for him to leave. Mike said, “I didn’t want to let the people down or anybody to get hurt. So I stayed.” It seems that Mike still lives in California, where he cares for his elderly mother. Apart from that, he has been dealing with a learning disability since he was a kid.

Read More: Where is Gene Atkins Now?