Police are offering a reward for information about the homicide of Mark Stannard, aka “Cowboy.” He was often seen around northwest Berkeley with a white pitbull. Source: Berkeley Police Department
Police are offering a reward for information about the homicide of Mark Stannard, aka “Cowboy.” He was often seen around northwest Berkeley with a white pitbull. Source: Berkeley Police Department

Authorities have announced Berkeley’s fifth homicide of the year, a longtime homeless community member who lived in northwest Berkeley and went by the name “Cowboy.”

On Thursday morning, the Berkeley Police Department reported the death of Mark Stannard, 64. His body was found in early October, but the case was not immediately determined to be a homicide.

Stannard was a familiar face around the neighborhood, said Officer Jennifer Coats, police spokeswoman. Coats recalled seeing him on the streets of northwest Berkeley since the 90s, always walking with a white pitbull dog.

“He was homeless but he has been in Berkeley for years,” she said.

The city of Berkeley is offering a $15,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person who killed Stannard. Another $2,000 may also be available to tipsters, via Bay Area Crime Stoppers. (Scroll down for details.)

Stannard’s body was found in early October, but his injuries were not immediately apparent to authorities, said Coats.

“He may have been out there for some time,” she said. “The state of his body didn’t make it easy.”

Police received a call Oct. 7 at about 5:50 p.m. from someone reporting a man lying in the bushes in the 800 block of Harrison Street, said Coats, near the Berkeley Skate Park.

When police went to investigate, they found Stannard’s body. During the autopsy, the coroner’s office found signs of aggravated assault, said Coats, leading police to investigate the death as a homicide.

Authorities have declined to release additional information about Stannard’s injuries, because that level of detail “may be only known to the suspect,” she said.

Coats said she didn’t know exactly when the case had been reclassified as a homicide, but that police hope people in the community may be able to provide important information about the case.

Berkeley had its fourth homicide of the year in early December when Pam Mullins was shot and killed while riding her bicycle on Sacramento Street. The city of Berkeley has also offered a $15,000 reward to find her killer. The reward was announced Thursday afternoon.

In addition to Mullins, Kenneth Warren was shot dead in January near his workplace on the corner of Shattuck Avenue and Emerson Street. In February, Peter Cukor was bludgeoned to death outside his home on Park Gate in the Berkeley hills. In March, Devin Lee Whitmore was shot in the 2800 block of Sacramento.

In 2011, there was only one homicide, Toby Eagle, in Berkeley.

The Berkeley Police Department asks anyone with information about these cases to call the Homicide Detail at 510-981-5741, or the non-emergency number at 510-981-5900. Callers may remain anonymous. The city of Berkeley is a member of the Bay Area Crime Stoppers (BACS) organization; callers with information may call BACS at 800-222-TIPS (8477). Crime Stoppers offers an additional reward of up to $2,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction in this case.

Few clues in Berkeley’s fourth homicide of 2012 [12.06.12]
Sacramento Street neighbors reel from latest shooting [12.05.12]
Family of murder victim Cukor files suit against Berkeley [11.15.12]
Sacramento Street shooting victim dies, arrest made [03.30.12]
$17,000 reward for information about Warren murder [01.31.12]
Breaking: Man shot and killed in south Berkeley [01.26.12]

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Emilie Raguso (former senior editor, news) joined Berkeleyside in 2012 and covered politics, public safety and development until her departure in 2022. In 2017, Emilie was named Journalist...