Local/State

Shooting victim had taken legal steps for protection

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Raleigh police have identified the man who killed a woman in the Cameron Village shopping center Monday morning and then later committed suicide.

Police identified the shooter as 42-year-old Christopher John Bertrand of Hoover, Ala. They identified the dead woman as Bertrand's ex-wife, 41-year-old Kathleen Ann Bertrand, of Cary.

The first shooting happened around 9:30 a.m. Monday on Daniels Street.

"It sounded between six, and I want to say eight rapid fire gunshots," said John Pharr who has an office right next to where it happened.

A 911 caller reported a woman lying in a parking lot.

"It looks like she's dead," said the caller.

« Cameron Village 911 Call (.wav) »

Pharr said he did not hear any yelling or commotion before the gunfire broke out. Witnesses reported the shooter arrived in a white car that was parked next to where the woman's body was found.

Police immediately began an intensive manhunt for the shooter who witnesses said left Cameron Village on foot.

Then, just before 2 p.m., a man's body was found in the 1000 block of Wade Avenue.

"I think the suspect that you're looking for - from Cameron Village - just shot himself in the head," a 911 caller from a nearby apartment complex reported.

« Wade Avenue 911 Call (.wav) »

Meanwhile, a few of Kathy Bertrand's close friends said the couple's 20 year marriage wasn't always bad. However, a few years back it started to slide.

"How did this happen? How did he find her," asked Kathleen Bertrand's pastor Samantha Heart. "I hope we can find those answers because no one seems to know right now."

Heart recalled when the two met a few years back. Kathleen had just divorced from Chris Bertrand.

"She was afraid of him," said Heart.  "And although things had progressed and changed, that initial fear was warranted."

A longtime friend of both Kathleen and Chris Bertrand said it wasn't always like that. They met in college and got married a year later in 1991. Lisa Beyer said she was there for all of it.

"He was never physically abusive at all during their marriage," said Beyer.

Beyer said he was emotionally abusive and the two grew apart. But she says the marriage began to truly crumble when Chris Bertrand was accused of inappropriate behavior with a minor.  Kathleen then took the kids to Florida and lived with Beyer for a few months. When they returned, everything was different.

"Chris was not allowed to be at the house," said Beyer. "There was a safety plan put into place to ensure that she and the kids would be protected from him. He was not allowed unsupervised visits during this investigation."

The couple got divorced and he moved away. Kathy Bertrand tried to disappear. She moved into an apartment in Cary with her three children. She even had her mail go to a domestic violence organization.

"That was the big key though," said Heart. "He was able to find her."

How he found her is a question police have yet to answer.

Meantime, ABC11 has learned a fund is being set up for Bertrand's kids, who are moving to Florida with family.

One of the couple's children is in middle school. The other two are in elementary school.

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