19-year-old Berkeley woman dies after drive-by shooting

“She was a little thing but she had the biggest spirit,” Sereinat’e Henderson’s mother-in-law told Berkeleyside on Thursday night.

A memorial for Sereinat'e Henderson, who was killed in a drive-by shooting
A memorial for Sereinat’e Henderson at Ellis and Prince streets, Oct. 22, 2020. Photo: Emilie Raguso

A 19-year-old Berkeley woman wounded Wednesday night in a drive-by shooting on Prince Street has died, her family and friends told Berkeleyside.

Sereinat’e Henderson was two months pregnant when she was killed, they said. Henderson was in a car with her baby and several other family members Wednesday when someone in another vehicle opened fire on them just before 7 p.m. at Prince near Ellis Street. According to public records, Henderson at one point lived in an apartment on Ellis about two blocks from where the shooting happened.

On Thursday evening, mourners set up a small memorial for the young woman, whose first name was pronounced “Serenity.” There were candles, flowers, balloons and a small stuffed unicorn on the corner near the intersection where the shooting happened.

From time to time, neighbors visited the memorial to pay their respects to Henderson, and several people who knew her also parked briefly. But otherwise the block was mostly empty aside from neighbors walking their dogs.

K., who described herself as Henderson’s mother-in-law, arrived on the block shortly before 8 p.m. She had driven to Berkeley on Thursday to try to find out what happened. (She asked to be identified only by her first initial because so little is known about the circumstances of the shooting at this time.)

“She was a little thing but she had the biggest spirit,” K. said, of Henderson, whose petite frame did not quite reach 5 feet.

“It just doesn’t make sense,” she added. “She was pregnant. She just had her ultrasound yesterday.”

A memorial for Sereinat’e Henderson at Ellis and Prince streets, Oct. 22, 2020. Photo: Emilie Raguso

K. said her son and Henderson were high school sweethearts. They met at a party in Berkeley when Henderson was 14.

“They were each other’s first love,” she said. “They grew up together and had my grandson. And they were about to have another one.”

K. said Henderson was an amazing girl who had the skills and personality to accomplish whatever she might have wanted in life. She was very happy and had strong leadership qualities, K. said.

K. heard about the shooting Wednesday night when her phone began ringing off the hook with calls from friends and family.

“Everybody started calling me at once,” she said. “South Berkeley’s small.”

Ben Bartlett, who represents South Berkeley on the City Council, wrote on Twitter on Thursday evening that he and Mayor Jesse Arreguín intend to launch what he called “a regional effort to address gun violence.”

“Enough is enough,” Bartlett wrote. “Please send your prayers and thoughts to the victim.”

The Berkeley Police Department has said little about the shooting since the initial report Wednesday night.

Police ask anyone with information about the incident to call BPD’s Homicide Detail at 510-981-5741.

Henderson’s killing was Berkeley’s fifth homicide of 2020.

Did you know Sereinat’e Henderson? Berkeleyside would love to speak with you to learn more about her life.

Emilie Raguso is Berkeleyside’s senior editor of news. Email: emilie@berkeleyside.com. Twitter: emraguso. Phone: 510-459-8325.