Reported by Victor Ochieng
A California woman was shot to death and her son injured on Wednesday for allegedly laughing at the suspect, who was in a Cadillac with his feet protruding out of the car window.
Police reports indicate that the woman, identified as 44-year-old Denise Berry (pictured), and her 12-year-old son were sitting in traffic when she saw the Cadillac.
“Mommy says, ‘Look at that, isn’t that funny?’ and they made eye contact [with the suspect],” Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Dave Coleman told reporters. “She drove on and they began following her.”
Seeing that the suspect was charging towards her, she drove and stopped besides a police officer for help. The police officer asked her to park in front of him and he’d handle the situation. As she was headed back to her car, the suspect pulled his Cadillac over and a man, identified as Robert Washington, 38, came out of it and began firing. There was a hail of shots, prompting the Hawthorne police officer to jump out of the police car and fire at the suspect, killing him.
However, the officer’s intervention didn’t come early enough to save the woman, as she was also pronounced dead at the scene. Although her child was also injured, he was still strong enough to run for his life. He was later taken to hospital, where he received treatment and was discharged on Thursday, according to family members.
Police officers are still carrying out investigations into what may have led to the shooting. So far, accounts of what happened have been recorded from the police officer who shot the assailant, the child involved, and a few other sources. As things get pieced together, the police have established that there were no gang signs thrown by the assailant, thus temporarily ruling out the possibility of a gang-related killing.
From the accounts, it’s clear that Berry didn’t have prior knowledge of her killer or the other persons who were in the Cadillac.
The person who was driving the Cadillac, Stanley White, 24, was charged with murder on Friday, while the other person who was with him in the vehicle hasn’t been charged.
It was also on Friday that friends and family came together at the scene of the shooting in memory of Berry, who was a single mother of three. Speaker after speaker talked about Berry as charismatic, strong, and quite social.
Berry lived in Hawthorne with her three kids. She worked as a bus driver. Her supervisor, Venette Carter, said that Berry always remained positive, even during bad days at work.