Pamula Mullins. Courtesy of Mullins' family
Pamula Mullins. Photo: courtesy Mullins’ family
Pamula Mullins. Photo: courtesy Mullins’ family

Cathy White has never forgotten the last phone conversation she had with her younger sister, Pamula Mullins.

It was the evening of Dec. 4, 2012. The two sisters were discussing what each would make for Christmas dinner. Mullins offered to make her “messy” salad – a salad chock full of things other than lettuce – and White was gently trying to talk her out of it. Unbeknownst to Mullins, no-one in the family really liked her salad, but they were too polite to tell her that directly.

After a good laugh — the two sisters were very close — Mullins said she had to get off the phone to go to the store.

That was the last time White talked to her sister.

Mullins was shot in the head around 11:56 p.m. as she rode her bicycle on the 2700 block of Sacramento Street right in front of Longfellow Middle School. Mullins, 50, an in-home health worker who lived nearby, died at the scene.

The killer has never been found. It was the fifth homicide in Berkeley in 2012.

On the anniversary of the killing, Berkeley police are once again asking the community to step forward with any details or information about that night. There is a $15,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the suspect(s) responsible for Mullins’ murder.

Police believe there is someone in the tight-knit South Berkeley community who knows something important about Mullins’ murder. They are probably not speaking up because they are afraid of retaliation from the killer, or killers.

After Pam Mullins' murder, her family spelled out her first name with tea lights. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
After Pam Mullins’ murder, her family spelled out her first name with tea lights. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
After Pam Mullins’ murder, her family spelled out her first name with tea lights. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel

“I truly believe there are several people who know exactly what happened and why, but they are not speaking about it,” said Berkeley Police Sgt. Peter Hong. “People who do know would probably like to tell us what happened but they are afraid to do so because of retaliation. It would jeopardize their own position in the community.”

Berkeley police do have several theories about why Mullins was shot, said Hong, who said he could not share them.

The shooting was not random.

“She was definitely targeted,” said Hong. “She was gunned down. It was a cold and rainy night. It was not a robbery gone bad.”

White and her family plan to hold a vigil for Mullins at 2 p.m. today at the spot along the fence on Sacramento Street where she was killed. Just as they did two years ago, they will bring candles and balloons to honor her memory.

Mullins was one of seven children who grew up in North Oakland on 61st and Shattuck. She had been living in South Berkeley for several years. Mullins didn’t have any children, although she had a very close relationship with a young woman in her 20s who she had informally adopted, said White. She also was close to her nieces and nephews.

A memorial for Pam Mullins on Sacramento Street, as seen on Dec. 7. Photo: ilovemytank
A memorial for Pam Mullins on Sacramento Street, as seen on Dec. 7, 2012. Photo: ilovemytank

Mullins was a stylish woman, someone who never left her house without looking pulled together, said White. She often dressed head to toe in the same color. Mullins also had a distinctive twitch that made her very attractive to men.

“Pam was a dresser,” said White. “She had this killer walk. All the men would look at her. They would turn their heads and look at her. She had that bad girl walk.”

The last two years have been really hard for White, who lights candles every year on her sister’s birthday.

“She didn’t deserve to die that way,” said White. “She was a family oriented person. She took care of my mom. She did everything. I just don’t understand why someone would want to shoot her. When they took her it was like they took part of me.”

BPD is urging anyone with information to call the BPD Homicide Detail at 510-981 5741, or the non-emergency number at 510-981 5900. If a caller wishes to remain anonymous he/she can call Bay Area Crime Stoppers (BACS) at (800) 222-TIPS (8477).

Shooting of bicyclist Pam Mullins not random (12.21.12)
Few clues in Berkeley homicide  (12.06.12)
Sacramento Street neighbors reel from latest shooting (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 Created California, published in November...