Beatrice Burton, a 33-year-old mother of two, was involved in a fatal drive-by shooting in West Oakland last night near Poplar Park at 30th and Union streets at 9:45 p.m. Burton, who was from Richmond and worked for the Berkeley school district as a kitchen employee, was rushed to Alta Bates Summit Medical Center by her boyfriend, where she died at about 10:30 p.m.
Burton's family believes she was in the wrong place at the wrong time or was mistaken for someone else. Members of her large family describe Burton as being "the sweetest girl that ever was," who was always taking care of others. "She helped people with things they couldn't do for themselves," said Burton's grandmother, Gladys Ferguson, who raised her.
Berkeley school district spokesman Mark Coplan told the Chronicle, "It's always a tragedy when we lose a student, a parent or a staff member. It's even a greater tragedy when it's under such absolutely unnecessary circumstances." Counselors have been brought in to help grieving employees and students cope with the death.
Police have no description of the car or the killer, and no arrests have been made.