Vigil held for woman apparently killed because she laughed at shooter

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A vigil was held Friday for a mother who was shot and killed in Hawthorne apparently because she and her son laughed at a man with his feet hanging out of a car window. (KABC)

A vigil was being held Friday for a mother who was shot and killed in Hawthorne apparently because she and her son laughed at a man with his feet hanging out of a car window.

Mother of three Denise Berry, 34, was supposed to be at work on Wednesday, but took the day off from her job as a Metro bus driver. Her family says she became the victim of what appears to have been a random act of gun violence.

"We just want Denise to know, wherever she is, we love her and we miss her," cousin Iran Walton Jr. said.

Police say about 12:30 p.m., Berry and her 12-year-old son were in a Mercedes, when they pulled up next to a Hawthorne Police officer parked on Kornblum Avenue.

Berry told him she thought she was being followed by a white Cadillac. The officer told her to pull over. That's when 38-year-old Robert Washington got out of the Cadillac and opened fire.

Berry was killed and her son was wounded. The police officer shot and killed Washington.

"Everyone ends up dying, but not everyone dies in the manner that she died, and that is what hurts," Walton Jr. said.

Berry's son was discharged from the hospital and the family is focused on having strength in numbers.

"We're devastated. We're trying to be together. We're just trying to hold each other up because Denise was such a prominent family figure," Berry's great aunt Beverly Robert said.

Related Topics:
officer-involved shootingshootingHawthorneLos Angeles County
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