Victim in Monday’s apartment fire was mother of murdered clerk

Posted at 11:00 PM, Feb 11, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-12 00:05:29-05

Livingston Rush is experiencing an inconceivable loss yet again.  First, his brother Robert was shot and killed as he worked on May 4, 2005.  Then, nearly nine years later, his mother was killed in a mid-rise apartment fire.

The fire was Monday night, in South Richmond across the Lee Bridge, in the 1900 block of Stonewall Avenue. Crews arrived on scene around 8 p.m. and found the fire in apartment 612.

Rush was only two years removed from the legal conclusion of that earlier tragedy and now must face another.

"It’s difficult to have to experience two tragedies, involving two people you love in a manner like that," Rush said.

We first met Rush in 2005, days after brother Robert, a father and Vietnam veteran, was killed in cold blood inside an Uppy's Exxon in Richmond.  Even after Robert Rush had met the robbers’ demands, they shot him to death.

That case was finally solved seven years later with a conviction in late June, 2012.

"She was happy, relieved that it happened,” Livingston Rush said.  “It gave her some closure."  According to her surviving son, Grace Rush  was pleased with the outcome.  But late Monday night, she became a victim herself.

"I came running outside and flames were shooting out the window,” said Mary Johnson, a resident of the Stonewall apartment complex.

Grace Rush's body was found in her bedroom. Her son said she was barely recognizable.  "I couldn't recognize her face, so I had to think of a ring with her birth stone that she never took off,” he said.  “That's how I knew it was her."

Now the Rush family is once again coping with a huge loss.

This time Livingston Rush says, it may be even more difficult to get over

"This is worse than my brother's,” he said.  “His was quick.  She was alone and I know it was painful."

Rush tells me his mom is in a better place tonight.  He was able to share in many of her 82 years.  He says they cried and laughed together and she always told her four sons that she loved them.