A woman who was fatally shot in her car after her 12-year-old son made eye contact
with a passenger in another vehicle has been identified, while authorities announced
the arrests of two associates of the gunman, who was killed by a Hawthorne police officer.
Denise Berry, 44, died at the scene of the 12:45 p.m. Wednesday shooting
at Rosecrans and Kornblum avenues. The gunman, 38-year-old Robert Washington,
of Rialto, also died at the scene after being shot by an officer who saw him
open fire at the woman and her son, authorities said.
The 12-year-old boy was wounded but survived.
According to sheriff’s officials, the Hawthorne police officer was parked on
Kornblum Avenue in his patrol vehicle, monitoring traffic, when Berry pulled
alongside in a Mercedes-Benz and told the officer that another driver
had been following her.
“The officer told her to pull her vehicle in front of his, and pull
over so he could assist her,” according to a sheriff’s statement. “At that
moment, another vehicle pulled (up) adjacent to her.”
Washington got out of the other vehicle and began firing at the woman
and the boy, prompting the officer to get out of his patrol car and fatally
shoot the suspect, according to the sheriff’s department.
Sheriff’s Lt. Dave Coleman said the boy had earlier looked at the
Cadillac Washington was in and laughed because someone’s feet were hanging out
of a window, and he pointed it out to his mother. That prompted Washington and
the two other people in the car to begin following the woman and her son,
Two men who were in the car with Washington — the driver and a rear-
seat passenger, identified as Stanley White, 24, and Brandon White, 19 — were
questioned and ultimately arrested. The older man was booked on suspicion of
murder and the younger man on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a crime,
according to the sheriff’s department. Both were being held in lieu of $1