Richmond firefighter killed protecting son: ‘Her last act of love’

RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond Fire Lt. Ashley Nicole Berry was protecting her young son from gunfire when she was shot and killed in Hopewell on Thanksgiving night, family members disclosed in a Tuesday morning press conference.

"A lot of people didn't realize that my daughter was not just there by herself. She was there with her son," Berry's father Waverly Berry said.

Mr. Berry said he spoke with his five-year-old grandson in the emergency room at the hospital.

"[I told him] 'Your mother's last act of love, for you, was to push you down. [She pushed you down] for a reason," he recalled. "The good thing is that God put his covering over you, so that we could still have you."

Hopewell Police were called to the 1000 block of Sunnyside Avenue for "shots fired and an individual who had been shot" just before 11:40 p.m. Thursday.

Berry, who was in Hopewell on a visit, suffered "sustained serious gunshot-related injuries" and later died at the hospital.

Berry's cousin called on the person, or people, responsible for the 33-year-old mother of three's death to come forward.

"To the person or persons who caused us this pain, we appeal to your consciousness to do the right thing and turn yourself in to the authorities," Lt. Berry’s cousin George Berry said. "Our family's pain is enough to last a lifetime."

While Hopewell Police continue its investigation into Berry's death, her colleagues at the Richmond Fire Department announced planned remembrances.

"There will be a vigil service open to the public on Thursday December 5, 2019, at Huguenot High School," a Richmond Fire spokesperson said. "A public viewing will be held for Lt. Berry on Friday, December 6, 2019 at Mimms Funeral Home. A Celebration of Life Ceremony is set to begin at noon on Saturday, December 7, 2019."

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting all donations be made to the RFD Foundation Memorial account in her honor.
Donations will be accepted at either Richmond Fire Police Credit Union locations (900 Hermitage Road or 200 W. Grace Street, Richmond, Virginia, 23220), telephone 804-354-0673. Please designate all donations with a declaration of "Attention: LT Ashley Nicole Berry."

Public Vigil
Thursday December 5, 2019
Huguenot High School
7945 Forest Hill Avenue, Richmond, VA 23225
5:30 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Public Viewing
Friday, December 6, 2019
Mimms Funeral Home
1827 Hull Street, Richmond, VA 23224
9 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Celebration of Life Ceremony
Saturday, December 7, 2019
Second Baptist Church
300 Broad Rock Boulevard, Richmond, VA 23234
Noon

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