Family says Virginia firefighter died shielding her son from gunfire

Richmond Fire Lieutenant Ashley Berry
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) — The family of the Richmond Fire Lieutenant killed by gunfire Thanksgiving night spoke out about their incredible loss on Tuesday morning at the Richmond Fire Department Headquarters.

Lt. Ashley Berry’s father, Waverly Berry, was surrounded by members of the Richmond Fire Department as he revealed that his daughter shielded her five-year-old son from the bullets. Lt. Berry and her son were standing on Sunnyside Avenue in Hopewell, after celebrating Thanksgiving, when she was shot and killed.

Waverly Berry said Lt. Berry, a mother of three, protected her young son from the hail of gunfire that was senselessly fired at them, pushing him to the ground to shield him.

Lt. Berry's father recounted the painful moments in the emergency room, that night, when as his grandson turned to him and said, "The bad people shot mommy."

Waverly Berry said his grandson tried to get his mother to look at him, but she didn't move. He ran into his grandmother's arms.

“I told (my grandson), ‘Your mother’s last act of love for you was to push you down,” said Waverly Berry. “That was for a reason- to save you… It could have been two people shot.”

Lt. Berry’s family said their pain is enough to last a lifetime. Lt. Berry was an eight-year veteran of the Richmond Fire Department and recently promoted to the Fire Marshal’s Office. Her family says she was also the co-founder of the women’s support group The Ladies of Diversity, and a member of Inspirational Choir.

Richmond Fire Chief Melvin Carter called Lt. Berry a true hero and public servant, describing how she crawled into burning homes to save the lives of others.

"Ashley Berry was a true hero of our fire department,” said Chief Carter. “She was a public safety hero, a public safety servant. Ashley crawled into burning homes to save and rescue other's lives. She led people into burning homes to save and rescue other people's lives. So today, we ask the community for their support in helping bring to justice those responsible for taking one of our family member’s lives."

“We're still going to stay strong. We're still going to keep the faith in God and keep the faith in each other,” said Waverly Berry. “Our prayers is that all of her children will continue to grow and do good and become good citizens where ever they live."

Both Lt. Berry’s family and Chief Carter pleaded the community to come forward with any information, as Hopewell detectives continue to try to find the killer. Anyone with any kind of information is asked to call Hopewell Crime Solvers at 804-541-2202 or use the P3 Tips app. Both are anonymous.

Several services are planned to honor Berry. A vigil service is being held for the public on Thursday, Dec. 5 at Huguenot High School from 5:30 to 7 p.m. A public viewing will follow on Friday, Dec. 6 at Mimms Funeral Home on Hull Street. Then, on Saturday, a celebration of life ceremony will be held at noon at Second Baptist Chruch on Broad Rock Boulevard.

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