‘The bad people shot mommy’: Virginia firefighter shielded 5-year-old son from gunfire that killed her

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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT/Gray News) - The family of the Richmond Fire Lieutenant killed by gunfire Thanksgiving night spoke out about their incredible loss Tuesday morning at the Richmond Fire Department Headquarters.

Ashley Berry, a Richmond Fire lieutenant, was killed in random gunfire. Her last act was to save their son. (Source: Contributed photo/WWBT/Gray News)

Lt. Ashley Berry’s father, Waverly Berry, was surrounded by members of the Richmond Fire Department, as he revealed that his daughter shielded her 5-year-old son from the bullets. Ashley Berry and her son were standing on Sunnyside Avenue in Hopewell after celebrating Thanksgiving when she was shot and killed.

Waverly Berry said his daughter, 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.

Ashley 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.”

Ashley Berry’s family said their pain is enough to last a lifetime. She 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 Ashley 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 wherever they live."

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for the killing of Ashley Berry.

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Read the original version of this article at nbc12.com.