The boy was also shot by the suspect about 12:45 p.m. Wednesday at Rosecrans and Kornblum avenues, but survived, according to sheriff's detectives who are assisting Hawthorne police in the investigation.
Denise Berry, 44, died at the scene, as did the suspect, identified by the sheriff's department as Robert Washington Jr., 37, of Rialto.
The Hawthorne police officer was parked on Kornblum Avenue in his patrol vehicle, monitoring traffic, when the victim pulled alongside in a Mercedes-Benz and told him that another driver had been following her, according to sheriff's officials.
"The officer told her to pull her vehicle in front of his, and pull over so he could assist her,'' according to a sheriff's statement. "At that moment, another vehicle pulled (up) adjacent to her.''
Washington got out of that vehicle and began firing at the woman and the boy, and the officer got out of his patrol car and fatally wounded the suspect, according to the sheriff's department.
Two men who were in the car with Washington -- the driver and a rear-seat passenger, identified as Stanley White, 24, and Brandon White, 19 -- were questioned and ultimately arrested. The older man was booked on suspicion of murder and the younger man on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a crime, according to the sheriff's department. Both were being held in lieu of $1 million bail.
Sheriff's Lt. Dave Coleman told reporters that the shooting occurred after the boy -- who was riding in the car with his mother -- made eye contact with the suspect, who was a passenger in a Cadillac.
The suspect's feet were hanging out of the car's window at the time, Coleman said. The Cadillac then followed the Mercedes to the site where the shooting occurred, he said.
The boy was hospitalized in stable condition.
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