NORTH ATTLEBORO — Moments before she was fatally shot in her car at Fashion Crossing, Brandi Berg texted her boyfriend to say an ex-co-worker was “harassing” her.
Berg, 37, of Riverside, R.I., told her boyfriend that “Steve” had followed her to the retail plaza Saturday and was “kneeling next to the car,” asking if she was seeing someone else.
Berg texted that “Steve” would not leave and kept “knocking on my window and asking me to go talk with him somewhere.”
The texts are documented in a police affidavit obtained Monday by The Sun Chronicle and filed to support the warrant charging 32-year-old Steve Fregeolle of Johnston, R.I., with murder.
Police say Fregeolle shot Berg several times through the windshield of her 2019 Cadillac XT4. He then drove to the Francis C. Carter Memorial Preserve, an 842-acre wildlife sanctuary in Charlestown, R.I., where he apparently shot himself, authorities say. His body was found Sunday next to the gun.
Berg told her family that Fregeolle was “kind of a stalker” and that she did not feel safe around him, according to the affidavit.
The district attorney’s office said Fregeolle had recently been messaging Berg “frequently” and was “displaying obsessive behavior towards her.”
“He had allegedly been contacting her friends and family to learn her whereabouts and sent several desperate text messages to the victim,” according to the DA’s office.
According to the four-page affidavit filed by a state police detective, Berg, Fregeolle and her boyfriend worked together at Chambers Cadillac in Warwick. Before she was shot, Berg had repeatedly spurned Fregeolle’s attention, the affidavit states.
Three days earlier, Fregeolle texted Berg saying, “I hope you have a great life without me and after everything I’ve done this is the thanks I get...I really appreciate it.”
On June 16, Fregeolle texted Berg that he needed her and wanted to talk to her.
“I need you in the worst way,” he texted. “I can’t let you go.”
Berg left Chambers Cadillac and went to work recently for Cerrone Chevrolet Buick GMC on Route 1 in South Attleboro. An employee at the dealership referred a reporter to the manager, who did not return a phone call Monday. Attempts to reach Berg’s boyfriend were unsuccessful.
Workers at Chambers Cadillac described Berg on social media as someone who was kind to everyone and willing to help anyone in a heartbeat. One worker remembered Berg for having a positive outlook on life and for her smile.
Berg’s murder is the first in North Attleboro since 2013, when New England Patriot star Aaron Hernandez fatally shot semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd in the North Attleboro Industrial Park.
Last month, further south on Route 1A, a Mobil store clerk was shot and wounded in an attempted robbery, according to police in Attleboro. The clerk has been released from the hospital and a suspect in the shooting and a string of holdups is in custody.
Berg was shot several times in the crowded Fashion Crossing parking lot and died soon after being brought by ambulance to Rhode Island Hospital in Providence. Police found at least 11 9 mm shell cartridges around her car.
An off-duty Bridgewater police officer was among those who witnessed the shooting. He and his wife, an off-duty Massachusetts state police sergeant, followed the suspect for a brief period of time as he sped off erratically in a car toward Route 1. They relayed the license plate information, which revealed Fregeolle was the owner of the car, according to the affidavit.
North Attleboro Police Officer Robert Curran was on patrol in the parking lot of nearby Lowe’s when he heard the gunshots. Because Berg had locked her car door, Curran broke through the passenger side window of Berg’s car and performed CPR on her with an off-duty paramedic until rescue officials arrived.
Fregeolle is the only suspect in the homicide, according to the DA.
Berg, according to a published report, was the oldest of four children and a devoted mother to a 14-year-old daughter.