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Hart MS Deals with Death of Ainsley Freeman, Grandmother Speaks Out

Amy Freeman Burton's mother, and Ainsley Freeman's grandmother, said she learned of the deaths by watching the morning news.

canceled STAR testing today, worried that students would be too distraught over the death of 13-year-old Ainsley Freeman to concentrate.

around 6 p.m. Monday along with her mother, Amy Freeman Burton, 37. aren't saying anything yet about the circumstances of the shooting, including whether it was a murder-suicide or a double slaying. They likely won't know whether injuries were self-inflicted until the autopsy is complete.

Freeman Burton died inside the home and her daughter, still breathing when police and paramedics arrived, was pronounced dead later at Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley.

Police say 28-year-old Christopher Burton — Amy's husband and Ainsley's stepdad — discovered the grisly scene and called 911. He is not a suspect but is a person of interest, Lt. Jeff Bretzing said late Monday.

Police say that Burton is a person of interest because he is the only surviving member of the household, but most definitely is not a suspect. According to police, he gave a full statement and is cooperating in the investigation.

Officers did recover a handgun in close proximity to the victims, police said, and added that they don't believe a murderer is on the loose. There were no signs of forced entry.

Ainsley was a sweet girl, according to reports, and though she'd just moved to the area from the St. Louis area months earlier, she already had many friends. Counselors will be on hand at Hart all day today to help students find answers.

However, one person not getting answers is Ainsley's grandmother and Amy Freeman Burton's mother, Linda Walp, of Chesterfield, Mo. Though news reports are aplenty, she has yet to hear from any police agency in California.

"The only people we've heard from are reporters, reporters, reporters," she said.

"We found out from Channel 5. They were saying 'Amy Freeman' and so I called the local station to confirm and that's how we found out.

"I hear about how Pleasanton is this nice place but California doesn't have a very good reputation for me right now. It doesn't fix the shock this morning of finding out your daughter has been murdered."

She said she talked with Amy on Monday, but then had to get off the phone with Patch abruptly to deal with a family issue.

According to reports, Ainsley was a star student with high grades, despite the fact that she was new to the school. One teacher said she was asked within weeks of moving here to be a teaching assistant.

Pleasanton Superintendent Parvin Ahmadi said that instead of the STAR testing, students would go to their regular first period classes today, where teachers and counselors were on hand to help them process the terrible news.

"The best thing the teachers can do is listen to the kids and let them know it's normal to be anxious and sad at a time like this," Ahmadi said.

Walp told the St. Louis Post Dispatch that her daughter and granddaughter had moved from O'Fallon, Mo., because Freeman Burton's husband had a new IT job here and had already relocated here.

According to the article, Amy Freeman Burton had worked in the St. Louis area as a compliance officer for Edward Jones, A.G. Edwards and Commerce Bank. She started a new job in California in January as a compliance officer for UBS Financial Services Inc., the article said.

She said Amy Freeman Burton grew up in Chesterfield, Mo. and graduated from the University of Kansas. The Burtons and Ainsley previously lived in O'Fallon, Mo.

The mother and daughter left on Dec. 24 to start their new life in California, Walp told the newspaper.

Monte Massey, principal at Fort Zumwalt South Middle School, told the Post-Dispatch that school records identified her as "Ainsley Freeman," but early reports had it as "Ainsly."

Anyone with information that might assist detectives with their investigation should contact the at (925) 931-5100.

Gun violence in Pleasanton is rare. The last known shooting occurred in but the injuries were minor. There was an attempted shooting during a robbery in 2010 in a Rosewood Drive shopping center, but no one was injured.

We will update this story as we receive new information.

Reach reporter Tanya Rose at tanya.rose@patch.com.

Follow us on Twitter @PleasantonPatch, or on Facebook at Facebook.com/PleasantonPatch.

Sign up for the Patch newsletter by going to pleasanton.patch.com/newsletters.

EC May 09, 2012 at 05:46 PM
I agree with you Elizabeth. I hate this small minded, know it all attitude people have taken. How dare they speculate on something and someone they know nothing about. I did not know them but as a mother of a teen I was moved to tears for both of them and in the end it doesn't matter who, why what matters is that it is a very tragic situation with 2 beautiful lives lost.
Lizzy Neff May 09, 2012 at 11:15 PM
I went to school with Ainsley at south middle she was in my 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4thu hours. She had a loving relationship with a close friend of mine she was so beautiful and heaven definitely has gained 2 beautiful angels. she was a best friend of mine even when we fought.Ainsley I will miss you so much.
kmh May 10, 2012 at 04:08 AM
My heart goes out to the family of Ainsley and Amy as well as their friends. I didn't know them, but know the feelings and emotions that are going on within you. My family has had 2 different acts of violence that has resulted in deaths. Pleasanton is truly a great place to live. Let's make sure we show what wonderful people we are. If it is a valid comment, call the police. Having been on the family side of this situation, I have read comments like some of these about my family members, because I was aching for information to make sense of the situation. Yet, no answer was/is good enough for this outcome. Those comments were like another dagger in our heart during a true tragic time in my families lives. Let's not do that to them, please!! It's time to honor the angels in heaven and celebrate their lives with wonderful stories!!! Again, my deepest condolences to her family and friends...
Tri Valley Neighbor May 10, 2012 at 04:15 PM
I didn't get to read the comments posted that caused so much controversy here..apparently they were removed. It is a sad story for sure, and I hope those who knew the mother and daughter can find the support they need to help them heal from this tragedy. Statisticaly, crimes of this nature are usually committed by someone the victim(s) knew. I am confident that the police detectives will be able to find out who is responsible. Again, very sad.
Cherry May 19, 2012 at 10:27 PM
Any update to this story?

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