Berkeley police seek witnesses after near-deadly beating, hit-and-run

Berkeley Police Department. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Police in Berkeley are trying to find the occupants of a vehicle that passed by a woman lying on San Pablo Avenue in December after she was beaten unconscious, left in the street and run over by a separate vehicle that left the scene.

Police said, in a brief statement Tuesday, that they are looking for “any possible witnesses” to the hit-and-run. The woman remains in the hospital this week “with significant trauma.”

Authorities said previously that two women attacked the victim at San Pablo and Haskell Street on Dec. 18 at about 11:30 p.m. Mamie Purnell, 39, and Raine Wooten, 32, both of Berkeley, were arrested by BPD detectives the next morning. Two days later, they were charged with two felonies — attempted murder and assault likely to produce great bodily injury — by the Alameda County district attorney’s office.

Police said Tuesday that they had learned, in addition to the vehicle involved in the hit-and-run, another vehicle drove northbound on San Pablo around the same time.


“The driver or any passengers in this vehicle may have helpful information,” BPD said Tuesday. Their vehicle was described as a dark-colored SUV similar to a Chevy Trailblazer.

The Berkeley Police Department asks the SUV driver, or anybody who saw the collision, to contact Sgt. Emily Murphy at 510-981-5982 or ejmurphy@cityofberkeley.info.

Police said in court papers that surveillance video had revealed the victim was “severely beaten by two females and left lying in the middle of San Pablo.”

Police said one of those women, Wooten, pulled the victim down into the street, then punched her in the head repeatedly. At the same time, according to police, Purnell, the other woman, kicked the victim over and over in the ribs until she appeared to be unconscious. “Purnell then proceeded to kick and stomp” on the woman’s head prior to leaving her in the street, police wrote.

“Moments later, a vehicle traveling northbound struck the victim,” police said in a prior statement about the incident. That vehicle did not stop. The woman was taken by ambulance to Highland Hospital for emergency surgery, and San Pablo Avenue was closed overnight for more than seven hours during the initial police investigation.


Police said they searched Wooten’s home on Fairview and found the clothing she had worn during the assault. Police said Wooten later confessed to the assault, and said she saw the woman get hit by a truck.

When police searched Purnell’s home on California Street, they said they also found the clothing she wore the night of the attack, along with three firearms in her bedroom.

Purnell, a housewife, and Wooten, a waitress, remain in custody without bail and are scheduled to enter a plea in the case Thursday, according to records online. They are set to appear at the René C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland at 9 a.m.