Wednesday, June 27, 2001

NEWS - Woman slain at zoo; mom dies when told

Woman slain at zoo; mom dies when told
Houston Chronicle
Wednesday, June 27, 2001

LANSING , Mich.- A state trooper's wife visiting a crowded zoo with her daughter was killed by a rifle shot fired from a nearby wooded area. Her mother died of a heart attack when she was told of the shooting.

The trooper's lawyer acknowledged his client is under investigation in the shooting but said he wasn't involved.

Bernita White , 41, was shot once Saturday while walking with her daughter and friends at the Potter Park Zoo. Hundreds of people were in the park , and witnesses reported hearing one or two shots although none reported seeing the shooter, police said.

White's mother, Barbara Sims, 67, died of a heart attack when she was told of her daughter's death, police said.

White 's husband, Artis, a state police detective sergeant, had dropped off his wife and daughter at the park and arrived half an hour after the shooting expecting to pick them up, police said.

White had filed for divorce from her husband last month, although the couple still lived together, said his attorney, David Clark.

"They tell us they're looking at all kinds of leads, but we know they're looking at him," Clark said. "But let me set it straight. He absolutely didn't do it."

Artis White has been cooperating with investigators, Lansing police Lt. Raymond Hall said.

"We're confident the shooter was a long distance away," he said. "Based on the trajectory of the bullet, we can rule out that the shot was fired in the air and randomly struck someone walking in the park ."

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