Cameron Village invites community to wear purple to memorialize slain woman

ajames@newsobserver.comSeptember 14, 2012 

— Kathleen Bertrand, 41, did everything she could to protect herself before she was killed Monday by her ex-husband, so her family and community are doing everything they can to stand in solidarity with Bertrand and other victims of domestic violence.

The chairman of Cameron Village, where Bertrand worked at Pier 1 Imports, has invited the community to remember the mother of three by wearing purple Saturday and Sunday. There also will be donation stations where people can contribute to the futures of the three Bertrand children – ages 13, 11 and 7 – throughout the shopping village all weekend, marked by purple signs.

“Everyone in the Village may not have personally known this young woman, but her death has affected all of us,” said Smedes York, chairman of York Properties, which owns Cameron Village. “It’s an appropriate memorial to bring domestic violence into the forefront this weekend in her memory.”

The store where Bertrand was an employee has been closed since the shooting.

“We are deeply saddened about the events that took place Monday morning,” read a sign on the door Friday. “Out of respect for our associate, our store is currently closed at this time.”

The store is scheduled to reopen Saturday morning.

More than 20 flower bouquets, a candle and several potted plants were placed by the store’s entrance, just yards away from where Bertrand was fatally shot. A note attached to one flower bouquet said, “Help family with funds not flowers, though they appreciate these.”

A fund has been set up at www.indiegogo.com – search for “Kathleen Bertrand” – for donations to the Bertrand children. Also, a memorial service was to be held for Bertrand at 7 p.m. Friday at the Triangle Center for Spiritual Living.

Questions linger

“The biggest mystery is, How did he find out where she was?” said Samantha Hart, a close friend and founder of a spiritual center called Loxley Abbey, where Bertrand was a member for the past two years.

None of Bertrand’s friends knew of any recent contact that she or her children had with her ex-husband, Christopher Bertrand, 42, who lived in Hoover, Ala.

She was fatally shot next to two small white cars that were both registered to her husband. Christopher Bertrand took his own life several hours later, according to search warrants made public Friday.

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, according to the search warrant.

The Bertrands 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 courthouse, saying she was so “shaken up” by her husband’s erratic behavior that she had left town for two weeks.

The Bertrands’ three children are being cared for by Kathleen Bertrand’s mother and will live with her in Florida, Hart said.

James: 919-829-4870

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