Police: Woman killed in front of son had laughed at shooter


Courtesy: KTLA

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HAWTHORNE, Calif. (KTLA) – A 44-year-old woman was shot and killed by a stranger on Thursday in front of a police officer and her 12-year-old son.

Authorities told KTLA that 44-year-old Denise Chiffon Berry pulled her car next to a police officer to say that she believed she was being followed.

The officer told Berry to park her car in front of his patrol car so he could help her.

At that point, 38-year-old Robert Washington got out of a Cadillac behind her and opened fire on her Mercedes-Benz.

The officer got out of his patrol car and returned fire, killing Washington.

Berry was declared dead on the scene.

Two other people in the Cadillac were arrested.

Berry’s 12-year-old son was also hit and ran away from the gunfire. He was able to speak to investigators before being rushed into surgery.

Lt. Dave Coleman, with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, says the victim may have been targeted because she laughed at the gunman moments before the shooting.

Coleman told KTLA the mother and son saw one of the people in the Cadillac with his feet hanging out of the window and laughed about it.

At some point, the boy made eye contact with the shooter, Coleman told the Daily Breeze.

“This is what the little boy is saying,” Coleman told the newspaper, “Mommy says, ‘Look at that, isn’t that funny?’ And they made eye contact. She drove on and they began following her.”

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