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Woman Killed In Front Of Her Son After Laughing At Stranger, Cop Says

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A man shot and killed a mother and injured her son after they laughed at him while driving past his car in Hawthorne on Wednesday. Denise Chiffon Berry, 44, was driving along Rosecrans Ave. with her 12-year-old son around 12:40 p.m. when the bizarre and tragic incident occurred, according to the Daily Breeze. She had noticed that a man's feet were hanging out of the window of a nearby car and joked about it with her son, L.A. County Sheriff's Dept. Lt. Dave Coleman said.

"This is what the little boy is saying," Coleman said. "Mommy says, 'Look at that, isn’t that funny?' and they made eye contact. She drove on and they began following her."

Berry pulled up in her gray Mercedes-Benz next to a stopped Hawthorne police patrol car on the 14200 block of Kornblum Ave. to tell him she was being followed, reported KTLA. The deputy told her to park in front of his car while he investigated. As Berry was parking, a 1994 Cadillac pulled up next to her car and one of the passengers got out of the car and began shooting at the mother and son. The officer quickly shot and killed the gunman.

Berry died at the scene. Her son was injured by the gunfire, but was able to run away and talk to authorities before he went to a hospital to undergo surgery. He is still at the hospital as of today.

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Coleman said that the gunman and the others in the Cadillac didn't know the mother and her son. “It appears to be random or misguided," he said. "We’ll have to figure that out. ... We know that, at some point, the little boy made eye contact with the suspect. We don’t know if that’s what set him off."

He identified the shooter as 38-year-old Robert Washington. Authorities arrested the driver and backseat passenger in the Cadillac who were said to be Washington's half-cousins. Stanley White, the 24-year-old driver, was arrested on suspicion of murder and conspiracy and 19-year-old Brandon White for suspicion of conspiracy. They are being held on $1 million bail each.