Daily Mail reports:
A 61-year-old woman is accused of killing a family of three and setting fire to their home before trying to flee on a motorcycle while covered in blood, police said.
Dana Rivers was charged with three counts of murder on Tuesday for shooting and stabbing Patricia Wright, 57, her wife Charlotte Reed, 56, and their 19-year-old son, Toto ‘Benny’ Diambu-Wright at their Oakland, California, home on Friday.
Rivers made headline news because she was fired from teaching at a Sacramento high school in 1999 after she told her boss she would be transitioning to a woman.
Police responded to reports of gunfire after midnight Friday, and found Diambu-Wright, who went by the name Benny, bleeding from a stab wound, according to probable cause statements cited by NBC.
Benny’s parents, who adopted him from West Africa, were found shot and stabbed inside their home. All three victims were pronounced dead at the scene.
Police heard a ‘loud bang’ from the garage and said Rivers emerged from the home on the 9400 block of Dunbar Drive covered in blood.
Rivers was about to ride off on Reed’s motorcycle, but was arrested and found with ammunition and knives in her pockets, police told the East Bay Times.
The 61-year-old also made ‘spontaneous statements about her involvement in the murders’ during her arrest, according to police.
Rivers, who was accused of setting the house on fire to destroy any evidence, has also been charged with arson and possession of brass knuckles.
She could face life in prison without parole, or capital punishment, for the ‘special circumstance murders’ the East Bay Times reported.
Firefighters managed to put the fire out quickly.
Wright, who was a semi-retired teacher at Esperanza Elementary School, had been married to Reed, an Air Force veteran and businesswoman, for more than a year.
They had a total of three children between them.
Wright’s other son Khari Campbell-Wright said Rivers was an acquaintance who was part of a motorcycle club.
The married couple are pictured on Facebook riding a motorcycle after their wedding, and Rivers is said to have tried to escape the scene on Reed’s motorcycle.
But it remains unclear what Rivers’ connection was to the family, and Campbell-Wright suggested it was a random act of violence, telling the East Bay Times: ‘My mom had no part of it. My brother had no part of it. Wrong place, wrong time.’
More than 100 people gathered at the Berkeley High School Academy of Medicine and Public Service to hold a vigil for Benny, who graduated this past spring.
He was remembered as a ‘kind and sweet young man’ who made new students feel welcome at the school and envisioned a world without poverty and violence, according to Berkeley Side.
Rivers was licensed to carry a weapon as a security guard, NBC reported.
She was an award-winning teacher known as David Warfield in the 1990s.
She notified her boss about her plans to undergo gender reassignment surgery, only for Center High School to put her on administrative leave before firing her.
She filed a lawsuit against the school and eventually reached a settlement.