‘She was always giving of herself’: Richmond Fire Dept., family to hold vigil in honor of slain fire lieutenant

Lt. Ashley Berry

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Sunday marks the one-year anniversary since Richmond Fire Lieutenant Ashley Berry was shot and killed outside of a Hopewell home on the night of Thanksgiving.

The 30-year-old’s father Waverly Berry took time to sit on the steps of her Chesterfield home and reflect on the toll this year has taken on her family.

“I just came out of her house and sat there realizing those special breakfasts she used to cook, special dinners we used to have, we can’t do that anymore. Those special events and just being able to go out and flying kites or riding a bike, we won’t be able to do that anymore,” said Waverly. “The biggest problem for me as a father is that I couldn’t be there to take the pain.”

Ashley was killed when she was shot outside of a home on the 1000 block of Sunnyside Avenue. The fire lieutenant’s family says she shielded her then five-year-old son from the gunfire. Her final act of service — an act of motherhood.

“Amen, Amen. She was always giving of herself,” said Waverly. “Ashley was the one that would never quit.”

One year later there are still questions. On Dec. 6, 2019, Hopewell police announced that a “person of interest” was taken into custody in the shooting death of a Richmond Fire lieutenant, but say the charges against that person are unrelated to the homicide.

Since then, Ashley’s family says they still have many questions. They say there have been no major developments since her death, but believe that Hopewell police can crack the case with additional support.

“It just doesn’t make sense to me why a person out of the blue would cause random, senseless shooting and would cause so much pain and injury and emotions and all of that,” said Waverly. “Police don’t have the complete answers, but I believe they have enough pieces to the puzzle that they can put it all together.”

“If we could just get anybody that was a witness to the incident, that would be very helpful. I also would like to request that federal agencies, like the FBI, get involved, or any agency like that, because they have more resources,” said Waverly.

Sunday, her family vows to remember and honor Ashley’s life by holding a vigil at Station 21 on Jefferson Davis Highway, the Richmond firehouse where she was stationed.

“It’s going to be good. We’re going to try to remember the good times and hopefully with friends and family, and those persons that really knew her being around. It’s going to make things a little bit easier,” said Waverly.

Waverly said he hopes the renewed community focus on his daughter’s life will help some people who know something to come forward to the police.

“God is going to give us the strength to get through all of this,” Waverly said. “My prayer is that when they do find this individual, that everything will fall into place legally so that he or they can be processed to the full extent of the law,” said Waverly.

“One thing is for sure, God will have his vengeance in the end,” Waverly said.

The vigil will be held Sunday, Nov. 29 at 3 p.m. on Jefferson Davis Highway in Richmond. Only close friends and family, in addition to key members of the Richmond Fire Department, will be invited to the vigil. The family asked that those not invited to stay home in accordance with pandemic health guidelines. The family says that the Richmond Fire Department will stream the vigil live on their Facebook page at 3 p.m. for those not in attendance.

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