An Ohio mother was fatally shot by a motorist on Aug. 27 after their cars collided on a busy intersection, according to local reports.
Deborah Pearl was killed by Matthew Desha, who shot her with a 5.56-millimeter rifle, police said.
“Word’s [sic] can’t explain what we’re going through,” said Pearl’s son, Derryo Pearl. “This is the roughest patch a human being can go through. I’ve gone through tough times before, but it wasn’t like this.”
Cleveland.com reported that Pearl was driving north on Richmond Road about 7:20 a.m. on Saturday towards South East Harley-Davidson, where she worked.
Desha ran his Jeep through a red light and crashed into Pearl’s Ford Taurus. The impact of the crash caused the Jeep to roll over several times before ending up on its roof, after which Desha emerged from his vehicle with a rifle.
Witnesses told Cleveland.com that Pearl had exited her vehicle with her hands in the air before Desha shot her several times.
“I can’t get her screams out of my head,” a woman said.
Another witness who arrived on the scene described Desha’s behavior following the accident.
“He wasn’t saying anything,” he said. “When I made contact with him he was shaking. I don’t know what was going through his mind.”
Deborah was transported to University Hospitals Bedford Medical Center, where she died, according to police and the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Deborah’s Pastor Mel Kendall McCray was shocked over the deadly turn of events following the accident.
“We’re baffled that something as basic as a car crash could turn into a homicide,” McCray said. “It’s just beyond our comprehension.”
Deborah Pearl was remembered as loving mother by her family and a “beautiful person” by her employer. She is survived by three adult sons, grandchildren, and a longtime boyfriend.
“She disciplined us when she needed to discipline us,” Derryo Pearl said. “She made us go to school every day. She worked hard and taught us that was the only way to succeed in life.”
South East Harley-Davidson wrote in Facebook post, “With heavy hearts, it saddens us here at South East Harley to announce the passing of a beautiful person, our friend and family member Debbie Pearl. We will truly miss you as we cherish our memories and beloved moments with you.”
Desha is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who suffers from mental illness and PTSD, reported Cleveland.com.
Desha also has had several encounters with law enforcement. In May, he was arrested on felony gun and drug charges after a routine traffic stop. A search of his car uncovered a loaded 9 mm handgun and three additional loaded magazines, as well as straws with suspected drug residue and other contraband.
In 2007, an alleged drunk Desha was also accused of fleeing the scene of a car accident in North Carolina, reported WEWS-TV.
Desha was arrested at the scene and has since been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Pearl and he is being held on $1 million bail.
His next court appearance is set for today.