Sunday, June 24, 2001

NEWS - Lansing zoo scoured after mom shot dead -

Lansing zoo scoured after mom shot dead
Detroit News
Mike Martindale
Sunday, June 24, 2001

LANSING -- Police are looking for the person who fatally shot a Lansing woman at the Potter Park Zoo on Saturday afternoon.

Bernita K. White , 40, was walking into the zoo with her 8-year-old daughter and several friends at about 3:30 p.m. when she was hit by a bullet apparently fired randomly from an unknown location, Lansing Police Lt. Ray Hall said.

"They had been in a picnic and tot-lot area with friends and were going in to look at the animals when there was a loud noise and she dropped to the ground," Hall said. "Some people at first thought it was a firecracker, but when it spread there had been a shooting, people poured out with their children."

White was taken to Sparrow Hospital, where she was pronounced dead of a single gunshot wound. Meanwhile, police evacuated hundreds of visitors from the park, which was still being searched Saturday night.

White 's husband learned of her death when he arrived at the zoo about an hour after the shooting with another daughter to pick up his family.

Hall said police have no motive for the shooting and had not determined where the gunshot had been fired.

"We've talked with her friends and were told there were no incidents, arguments or confrontations at the zoo," Hall said. "They were out enjoying a summer day when this happened."

Hall said the zoo area is a relatively crime-free area where "an open container of alcohol would be considered a big deal."

Investigators want to talk to anyone who was at the zoo on Saturday. They can be reached at (517) 483-4600 .

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