Mother of suspected gunman apologizes to slain officer's family
Tamica Berason told reporters gathered outside her house that she was unaware that her son, Dejon Marquee White, possessed a shotgun. She was at a loss to explain his apparent actions. He had begun to "get his life together" in recent months, she said.
The two had spoken just hours before the shootings and Berason was looking forward to having dinner with her son.
Instead, within minutes of fatal midcity attack Saturday afternoon on officer Jeremy Henwood, White was spotted by police outside his apartment.
When he refused to surrender and reached for a shotgun, several officers opened fire, according to police. He was declared dead at the scene.
Police later said they found a rambling suicide note in White's apartment. His mother said she hopes someday to read the note for clues about her son's apparent bizarre behavior.
White had a history of arrests, for petty theft, stealing a television, reckless driving and resisting arrest.
Last Friday, an arrest warrant was issued after he failed to make a court appearance on a charge of fare-skipping on the San Diego Trolley.
After several months of homelessness, he had recently rented a one-bedroom apartment. He had worked at the Urban Corps of San Diego County since January in a program in which disadvantaged youths earn money by working on brush removal projects.
The organization Monday released a statement noting that in the last week, White had stopped showing up for work and skipped a course in how to drive a forklift. Staff members said they are "completely devastated and deeply saddened by the recent tragic events."
Services are pending for Henwood. Martin Hanna, the victim in an earlier shooting in an In-N-Out restaurant parking lot in El Cajon, remains hospitalized.
Henwood's parents _ his mother, Beverly, is a physician, his father, Robbie, is a dentist _ flew to San Diego from their home in San Antonio. They have declined to talk to reporters but met with police officers and Marines who knew their son.
-- Tony Perry in San Diego
Photo: Dejon Marquee White. Credit: KGTV-Channel 10