Police say 16-year-old suspect shot, killed woman in random attack in Morris

MORRIS, Ill. (CBS) – Police say a shooting that left a woman dead in Morris, Illinois on Thursday appears to have been completely random.

A 16-year-old boy has been charged in the case. Meanwhile, CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar spoke to family and friends of the victim Friday night.

Police say Beverley Lambert, 25, was picking up her 2-year-old son, Jace, from a babysitter when the 16-year-old armed with a gun shot her twice in the back of the head.

Beverley Lambert

Family Photo

Late Friday, a growing memorial was set up for Lambert at the Morris apartment complex where she was shot. She was described by those who knew her as a hardworking mother.

“Young, smart, intelligent, and full of life,” said Lambert’s aunt, Latonya Butler.

Those were just some of the words Butler used to describe her niece.

“It’s hard to fathom, because her age is 25 years old – and she was actually picking up her baby – who was her life,” Butler said. “Meant the world to her.”

Police said at the point when Lambert was picking up her son, the 16-year-old was in the area trying to solicit a ride when someone told him to leave.

A short time later, he started shooting, he shot Lambert twice in the head and drove off with her car, authorities said.

“He just like took a mother from their 2-year-old son,” said Lambert’s friend, Myriah Weatherspoon. “I think we’re all just like confused and just like hurt.”

It was a crime so brazen and unusual for the area that the Grundy County State’s Attorney calls it a first.

“I have never heard of an offender in Grundy County committing a murder at age 16 in the history of the county,” said Grundy County State’s Attorney Josh Helland. “This just does not happen here.”  

Kennedy Williamson lives just steps from the scene.

“I saw him from my window,” she said. “I live right here.”

Williamson saw the alleged shooter walk by her balcony moments before the shooting.

“How he was looking for a ride makes me think that could have been me,” she said.

A seemingly random crime now leaves 2-year-old Jace without his mom.

“He won’t even remember his mom,” Butler said, “and she was not at the wrong place at the wrong time. She was at the right place at the right time. You just had this evil person.”

A widespread manhunt began after the suspect stole Lambert’s car. Police said they were able to track the 16-year-old to Joliet using license plate readers.

The 16-year-old has been charged as an adult with murder, and his bond has been set at $5 million dollars. Prosecutors say he has a criminal history.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help with funeral expenses for Lambert.

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