A 44-year-old woman was fatally shot and her 12-year-old son was seriously injured by a complete stranger after laughing at him while he drove in a car with his feet hanging out the window.
Denise Chiffon Berry was driving with her son in Hawthorne, California, Wednesday afternoon when they spotted three men driving by in a Cadillac, and one of the passengers had his feet hanging out the window, according to police.
“This is what the little boy is saying,” Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Division Lt. Dave Coleman told the Daily Breeze. “Mommy says, ‘Look at that, isn’t that funny?’ and they made eye contact. She drove on and they began following her.”
Berry then drove up to a police officer when she realized the men were pursuing her, so the cop told her to park in front of him, the New York Daily News reports.
After she parked her Mercedes-Benz around 12:30 p.m., the Cadillac pulled up. One man jumped out of the car and opened fire with two handguns, killing Berry and injuring her son. The officer returned fire and killed the shooter, identified as 38-year-old Robert Washington, of Rialto, California.
The two other passengers in the vehicle, Brandon Armolav White, 19, and Stanley Ross White, 24, have been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy, and are being held on $1 million bail.
Berry’s son, whose name has been withheld, remains in the hospital after being shot and was able to speak with investigators before undergoing surgery.
Police say an investigation continues into the shooting but point out that the men appeared to have no connection to Berry.
“It appears to be random or misguided,” Coleman said about the killing.