HAWTHORNE (CBSLA.com) — A vigil scheduled for Friday night paid tribute to a woman who police say was killed senselessly in front of her 12-year-old son, during a shooting that also left the boy injured.
Denise Berry, 44, was driving with her son in Hawthorne Wednesday when he allegedly laughed at the occupants of a nearby Cadillac which had some feet hanging out of the car, officials reported.
The passengers in the Cadillac exchanged looks with the boy and began following Berry’s car.
Berry became concerned and pulled up alongside a police vehicle, near Rosecrans and Kornblum avenues, to tell them she was being tailed, according to investigators. Moments after she was instructed to pull in front of the patrol car, a passenger in the Cadillac stepped out of the vehicle and opened fire on Barry and her son – in plain sight of police.
Berry died at the scene. Her son was struck several times and was treated at a hospital.
Officers fatally shot the gunman, identified as 38-year-old Robert Washington of Rialto. Police say he and Berry did not know each other.
Two men who had been in the car with the suspect – 24-year-old Stanley White and 19-year-old Brandon White — have both been arrested. Police say White, who was driving the Cadillac, will be charged with murder and attempted murder. Both are being held on $1 million bail.
Loved ones at Berry’s vigil said her death was devastating. Her son attended the memorial, wearing a sweater to shield his face from cameras.
“I cry every day. I miss my cousin, man,” a relative said at the vigil.
Berry’s friend Nika Curry said, “It’s so horrible. Nowadays, you can’t give nobody eye contact. You’re scared. You’ve just got to look straight ahead because you never know what that person is going through. And I feel for that family, it’s Easter weekend. And that baby has to go through what he has to go through, during holiday season time, with no mom now.”