NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — An East Providence woman and the Johnston man suspected of killing her were previously in a relationship and the suspect had been displaying “obsessive behavior” towards her prior to the shooting, the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office revealed on Monday.
Brandi Berg, 37, died at Rhode Island Hospital Saturday night after she was shot while sitting in her SUV at Fashion Crossing Plaza on Route 1 in North Attleboro. The suspect, Steven Fregeolle, 32, was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound the following day in a wooded area of Charlestown, R.I.
According to the DA’s office, eyewitnesses told police the suspect approached Berg’s vehicle while aiming a handgun then fired several shots through the windshield.
The preliminary investigation revealed Berg and Fregeolle had worked together at a Warwick car dealership and according to her current boyfriend, the two were previously in a relationship.
The DA’s office said prior to the shooting, Berg texted her boyfriend saying Fregeolle was in the parking lot and had confronted her about seeing someone else. The boyfriend told investigators that Fregeolle had recently been sending Berg frequent messages and displaying “obsessive behavior” towards her, including reportedly contacting her family and friends to learn her whereabouts.
A Massachusetts State Police trooper and a Bridgewater police officer who were both off-duty happened to be in the area when the shooting occurred, the DA’s office said. As the suspect fled the scene, they followed him for a short time and relayed the vehicle description to responding officers.
A warrant for Fregeolle’s arrest on a murder charge was issued around 4 a.m. Sunday. Later that day, his vehicle was found by police at the Francis C. Carter Memorial Preserve with the keys inside, along with Fregeolloe’s phone, ID and credit cards.
Authorities spent the next several hours searching the 842-acre wildlife sanctuary. At about 6:30 p.m., a K-9 unit and other officers located Fregeolle’s body alongside a black handgun, according to the DA’s office.
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Officials said autopsies for Berg and Fregeolle are still pending.
Berg leaves behind a daughter and a beloved dog along with her parents and sisters. Her sister Kim released a statement to Eyewitness News saying she was the “kindest, most generous person.”
“She would help anyone in need, no questions asked. She loved her daughter more than her own life and would have done anything to keep her safe and happy. She was an avid runner for a time and loved gymnastics as a kid. She truly enjoyed sharing memories and reminiscing with her family. She is a beautiful soul and her bright smile and infectious laugh will be missed always. She loved her dog Captain more than she ever thought that she could. She enjoyed being on the water or at the beach on Prudence Island more than anything in the world.”
Reached by phone, Berg’s current boyfriend echoed that sentiment, saying she was “the kindest human being on Earth.”