Monday, June 25, 2001

NEWS - Police search for zoo shooter

Police search for zoo shooter
Muskegon Chronicle, The (MI)
Monday, June 25, 2001
Author: Associated Press

The city-owned Potter Park Zoo remained closed through the weekend while police investigated a shooting that killed a 41-year-old woman.

Lansing police Lt. Raymond Hall said police have no one in custody, and don’t know where the shot that struck Bernita White came from as she walked with her daughter on Saturday.

Police have interviewed at least a dozen of White’s acquaintances, and her husband, who is a state police Trooper. But investigators haven’t been able to focus on any leads, Hall said.

"We’re considering anyone who knew our victim to be a suspect," he said. "We’ve eliminated no one."

Along with her husband, White is survived by two daughters.

Officials had hoped to reopen the park and zoo Sunday. But state police crime investigators needed an extra day to search for any evidence that could help pinpoint where a gunman may have stood.

The park and zoo opened at 9 a.m. today.

White was shot once just after 3:30 p.m. Saturday while walking with her daughter and friends from a picnic area toward the zoo’s ticket booth.

At least 300 people were enjoying a sunny afternoon in the park and the zoo at the time of the shooting.

"Before this, open alcohol was a big deal in Potter Park — loud music was a common call," Hall told the Lansing State Journal for a story today. "This is just as shocking to law enforcement as it is to the public. We just don’t see this type of violence."

At least 20 officers, six detectives and every available dog-tracking team combed the area soon after the shooting.

Witnesses reported hearing one or two shots, possibly from a wooded area north of the zoo entrance. No one reported seeing who fired the shot.

Memo: Muskegon edition

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