RALEIGH — Kathleen Ann Bertrand died Monday in a handicapped parking spot next to two small white cars that were both registered to her husband, who killed her and then took his own life hours later, according to search warrants made public today.
A witness told police that a man matching the description of Kathleen Bertrand’s former husband, Christopher John Bertrand, stood between the two cars and shot her, according to the warrants
Police say Christopher Bertrand, 42, of Hoover, Ala., shot his ex-wife shortly after she arrived for work Monday morning at Pier 1 Imports in Cameron Village, then fled on foot.
A co-worker called 911 to report the shooting, telling the emergency dispatcher that a man had gotten into Kathleen Bertrand’s car. The warrant suggests both Bertrands got out of her car just before the shooting and that he fired over her car.
Police searched the two cars Monday afternoon after finding Christopher Bertrand’s body less than a mile away, behind a business on Wade Avenue. The officers found a .40-caliber bullet and gun holster in the 1997 Toyota Tercel that Christopher Bertrand drove to Cameron Village. Inside the 2007 Nissan Versa that Kathleen Bertrand drove to work that day, investigators found four journals, according to the search warrant.
Witnesses reported hearing at least six gunshots. On the day of the shootings, police reported that one of the bullets struck the front window at the HandPicked store in the 400 block of Daniels Street, where investigators later recovered a bullet jacket that had burrowed into a wall, Raleigh police Det. S. B. Snowden stated in the search warrant.
Police also searched Kathleen Bertrand’s apartment at 107 Northwoods Village Drive in Cary. Investigators took two laptop computers and a spiral notebook from the home, Snowden stated.
In addition to the gun holster, the police search of Christopher Bertrand’s Toyota yielded a utility knife, an AT&T mobile phone, a pouch, documents and a GPS unit. Police have not yet said if Christopher Bertrand drove nearly 10 hours from Hoover, Ala., to Raleigh just before the shooting, or if he had been staying in the area.
The Bertrand’s divorced in December 2011. Police have not yet disclosed a motive for the murder-suicide, but court documents show that the threat of violence underlined the later years of the Bertrands’ marriage.
About a year before the divorce, Kathleen Bertrand requested a domestic violence order at the Wake County court house, saying she was so “shaken up” by her husband’s erratic behavior that she had left town for two weeks.
The Bertrand’s three children – a 13-year-old daughter, 11-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter – are being cared for by Kathleen Bertrand’s mother and will live with her in Florida, according to Samantha Hart, a close family friend.