The family of Pam Mullins, who was killed Dec. 4 while riding her bicycle on Sacramento Street, set out tea lights spelling her first name. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel

The family of Pam Mullins, who was shot dead Tuesday night while riding her bicycle on Sacramento Street, honored her memory by setting up a street memorial – and insisting she was not involved with drugs or gangs.

“We put the vigil up here to let people know she had a family,” said Mullins’ 26-year old niece Elexis Norris, who lives in San Leandro. “She ain’t alone. She had a family. That’s why we are out here.”

Norris, her first cousin Danielle Easley, 24, and some of Mullins’ six siblings attached a stuffed teddy bear and some balloons to a chain link fence that surrounds the field at Longfellow Middle School on Wednesday night. They set out tea lights to spell “Pam.”

Mullins, 50, was shot at the spot Tuesday night. It is just a half a block away from an apartment she moved into on Sacramento a little more than a month ago.

Berkeley police received a 911 call at 11:46 p.m. on Dec. 4 reporting that a female bicyclist was on the ground, possibly the result of a traffic accident. When police arrived, they found an unresponsive Mullins, who had been shot in the head. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Pam Mullins’ nieces, Elexis Norris (l) and Danielle Easty (r) stand by a memorial they erected for her on Sacramento Street. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel

Mullins’ family found out about her death in the worst possible way – by watching television news, said Norris. Her brother Betram was watching a report on the killing Tuesday morning and recognized Mullins’ bike from the video, said Norris.

Mullins was born in Oakland, one of seven siblings, but had lived in Berkeley for many years. She had recently moved from an apartment on Alcatraz Avenue to the one on the 2700 block of Sacramento, near Ward Street, said Norris.

She was an in-home health care worker and she rode her bicycle everywhere, said her niece. Even though she had only been a local resident for a few weeks, even some of the kids in the afterschool program at Longfellow had started to recognize her because of the ubiquity of her bicycle.

Norris said Mullins was a warm and generous person and denied any suggestion she might have been involved in drugs.

“She was very loving,” said Norris. “She didn’t have any kids. All of her nieces and nephews were her kids. She was always smiling. I never saw her mad. I just don’t understand what happened.”

Berkeley police are investigating the shooting. On Wednesday, Berkeley police stood in close formation and combed the playing field at Longfellow.

While police have not revealed any possible motive, some neighbors speculated that the assassination-type killing — a shot to the head late at night — meant the slaying was not random and might involve some neighborhood beef.

Mullins’ killing is the fourth homicide in Berkeley in 2012.

Sacramento Street neighbors reel from latest shooting [12.05.12]
Female bicyclist shot and killed on Derby Street [12.05.12]

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Frances Dinkelspiel, Berkeleyside and CItyside co-founder, is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman...