RALEIGH — Colorful flower arrangements and potted plants covered the sidewalk Saturday outside of the Pier 1 Imports store where Kathleen Anne Bertrand worked, and nearby Cameron Village shops sported purple ribbons and signs to memorialize the slain mother of three.
Police say Bertrand, 41, was fatally shot Monday in a Cameron Village parking lot by Christopher Bertrand, 42. The Bertrands had divorced last December. Christopher Bertrand took his own life several hours after Kathleen Bertrand was killed.
Her children – ages 13, 11 and 7 – will live in Florida with her mother, Bertrand’s friend Samantha Hart said earlier this week.
“We didn’t know her, but I think everyone felt a sense of loss and sadness,” said Amanda Tommerson, store manager at Bevello, a clothing shop around the corner in the strip of stores where Pier 1 is located.
Bevello employees are wearing purple this weekend and have dressed mannequins in purple. When customers ask, workers are explaining the commemoration and its push to gather donations that will support Bertrand’s children.
Many shops are participating in the effort and several planned to donate 10 percent of their Saturday proceeds to the fund for the children, said Olivia Garabedian at Madison, a nearby boutique. Besides making a donation itself, Madison has posted a link to the donation website – www.indiegogo.com, search “Kathleen Bertrand” – on its Facebook page, she said.
“It’s definitely hit us all close to home,” said Garabedian, who did not know Bertrand personally. “We all feel that the community should try to help out.”
The fund surpassed its stated goal of $10,000 Saturday. It was at $10,772 at 6:30 p.m. Saturday – a figure Pat Hunnell with Cameron Village said does not yet reflect the 10 percent proceed donations.
The Pier 1 where Bertrand worked was closed after the incident and re-opened Saturday. Passers-by on Saturday stopped to look at the flowers and read the purple sign on the door, which explained the loss and directed shoppers to the donation website.
“It was very sad,” said Elizabeth Temple, a Raleigh resident shopping at Cameron Village who paused to look at the display and read the sign. She appreciated Saturday’s commemoration.
“I think it’s a nice way to see the community band together.”