RICHMOND, Va. -- Colleagues, family and friends of Ashley Nicole Berry gathered Sunday to mark one year since the beloved Richmond Fire Lieutenant was killed on Thanksgiving.
The 33-year was not the intended target of the gunfire that erupted outside the Hopewell home she was leaving with her young son on Nov. 28, 2019.
Family members said Lt. Berry was protecting her son from gunfire when she was killed.
"[I told him] 'Your mother's last act of love, for you, was to push you down. [She pushed you down] for a reason," Lt. Berry's father, Waverly Berry, said in a 2019 interview. "The good thing is that God put his covering over you, so that we could still have you."
Her family said the mother of three died of her injuries early the next morning.
“I love Ashley Nicole Berry. She’s the best mom,” the little boy who was pushed away from the gunfire said Sunday. “She took care of us. She was a savior.”
No one has been charged in Lt. Berry’s murder.
“A five-year-old kid shouldn’t have to go through that because of somebody else’s ignorance,” Waverley Berry said Sunday.
The father of Berry’s young son, also a Richmond firefighter, called the last year “hell.”
“Every medical call, every shooting call I go out here in the community, I relive that every day," he said. "I cry so much because I don’t understand why.”
Outside the fire station where Lt. Berry worked, family, friends and colleagues shared more than just sadness.
“Look at this smile that says all you need to know about Ashley,” Richmond Fire Chief Melvin Carter said. “A warm and giving woman, an exceptional parent. And as you heard today, Ashley sought only to do and be the best she could.”
"She was living proof of a superhero,” Angel Berry, Lt. Berry’s cousin said. ”She saved so many lives, and she’s still saving lives in her strength and her courage. Her life is in her children.”
A powerful sentiment shared Sunday: “Joy comes in the morning light.”
The family of a woman who gave back to the community still needs help from the community to move toward closure.
“So if you have it inside of yourself or know anything, please, please, please, for the love of God, speak because you would want someone to do it for your family,” Angel Berry said.
Anyone with information about the case can contact Lead Detective Mark Polumbo of the Hopewell Criminal Investigations Unit (CIU) at 804-541-2284. Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Hopewell-Prince George Crime Solvers at 804-541-2202 or through the P3 Tips app.
Crime Solvers is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for accurate tips.
The Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Washington Field Division is offering an additional $5,000 reward for tips in this case. Anyone with information can contact that agency at 1-888-ATF-TIPS or email@example.com.