Tag Archives: Sacramento Street shootings


Sentencing postponed again in Berkeley murder; convicted accomplice disputes identity of killer

Carroll, at right, seen here with brothers Jermaine and Charles Davis, both of whom have since been killed in fatal shootings. Photo: Coleon Carroll/FB
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The attorney for a 27-year-old man found guilty earlier this year of a 2010 murder in Berkeley has filed a motion for retrial and plans to bring in new testimony from a convicted accomplice in the case to dispute her client’s guilt.

Coleon Carroll entered a no contest plea for voluntary manslaughter in February after authorities identified him as the getaway driver in the murder of Gary Ferguson Jr. and the attempted murder of Larry Belle as they talked on Sacramento Street in South Berkeley one morning about six years ago.

An Alameda County Superior Court jury found Brandon Wallace of Pittsburg guilty in March of being a shooter in that murder. The guilty verdict means he could spend more than 50 years in prison.

Read complete coverage of the case.

But Wallace’s sentencing has been delayed repeatedly since his conviction for murder, attempted murder and unlawful possession of a firearm March 21. A prior sentencing hearing was postponed because Wallace’s father was reportedly working out of state and wanted to attend.

Thursday, the hearing was postponed again, and it now won’t take place before Dec. 1.

Defense attorney Bonnie Narby told Judge Jon Rolefson she plans to bring in Carroll to say it was actually another man — his deceased cousin Jermaine Davis — who was at the shooting scene. (Davis and Wallace both had dreadlocks at the time of the murder.) Narby argued during Wallace’s trial that he was in another city during the Berkeley murder and was not the man responsible for it.

Authorities have said Wallace was shot accidentally by an accomplice during Ferguson’s murder, which they said was evident on surveillance footage of the killing. And his blood was found soaked into the front seat of the getaway vehicle. … Continue reading »

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Wallace found guilty in 2010 Berkeley murder

Yellow tags marked the location of evidence at the 2010 shooting scene. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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After less than two full days of deliberation, an Alameda County Superior Court jury found Brandon Wallace guilty Monday morning of first-degree murder, attempted murder and unlawful possession of a firearm in a 2010 Berkeley double shooting that has been slow to work its way through the system.

The guilty verdict means Wallace, 26, could face more than 50 years in prison.

Wallace of Pittsburg was accused of opening fire at point-blank range — with a second shooter who has never been arrested or charged — on lifelong friends Gary Ferguson Jr. and Larry Belle as they stood talking and joking on a Sacramento Street sidewalk on Oct. 26, 2010, near the shop where Belle worked cutting hair.

Read Berkeleyside’s in-depth look at the trial.

“I just hope it brings some closure to the Ferguson family,” said prosecutor Matt Wendt after the verdict was read shortly before 11 a.m. Monday.

The jury began its deliberations Wednesday afternoon. The group continued through the day Thursday but did not meet Friday. Monday morning, jurors asked to review some video associated with the case, and to hear some testimony read back, according to Judge Jon Rolefson, who said he wanted to make sure those requests were part of the official record. … Continue reading »

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Jury deliberations begin in 2010 Berkeley murder case

Gary Ferguson Jr. Photo: Ferguson family
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Jury deliberations began Wednesday afternoon in the trial of 26-year-old Brandon Wallace, who has been charged in the murder and attempted murder of two men in 2010 on a sunny morning outside a South Berkeley barbershop.

Wallace’s trial began Monday, March 7, not long after a codefendant in the case — 26-year-old Coleon Carroll — pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Authorities say Wallace and another man who has not been publicly identified opened fire at point-blank range on lifelong friends Gary Ferguson Jr. and Larry Belle as they stood talking and joking on a Sacramento Street sidewalk on Oct. 26, 2010, near the shop where Belle worked cutting hair. Ferguson, 35, died within the hour, and Belle spent more than a month in the hospital after the two assailants unleashed a hail of bullets on the pair. Authorities found more than 20 casings from two different guns at the scene.

“They pumped those bullets into those bodies even as they lay on top of each other,” Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Matt Wendt told the jury during closing arguments Wednesday morning. He described the killing as both “coldblooded and calculated” while playing the jury surveillance footage he said clearly showed Wallace opening fire then fleeing the crime scene, limping because he had been shot accidentally by his “little partner” during the brazen attack.

Deputy Public Defender Bonnie Narby urged the jury to find her client innocent of the charges against him, and painted a picture of investigators who got caught up in an “obsession to win at all costs.” She said police did not do enough to track down evidence — in the form of BART surveillance footage or witness statements — that might have proven her client to have been elsewhere during the shooting. They suffered from “tunnel vision,” she argued, when they learned that someone had come into a hospital seeking medical care for an injury consistent with one they believed they saw on surveillance footage of the crime.

“It was good police work that allowed Brandon to be developed as a suspect,” she said. He fit the general description of one of the shooters, had a similar gunshot wound and similar purple shoes, and was a black male with long dreadlocks. “But all that neutrality, all that organized fact finding, once Brandon was developed as a suspect there was a rush to judgment.” … Continue reading »

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Defense attorney: Berkeley detectives ‘rushed to judgment’ in murder case arrest

Yellow tags marked the location of evidence at the 2010 shooting scene. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Berkeley murder trial launched Monday morning with the attorney for defendant Brandon Wallace arguing that investigators were too quick to zero in on him when he showed up at a local hospital with a gunshot wound after a fatal shooting on Sacramento Street in 2010. During the incident, one of two assailants appears to get shot from behind accidentally by the other while they unleashed a barrage of bullets on two men chatting on the sidewalk.

Deputy Public Defender Bonnie Narby and Deputy District Attorney Matt Wendt gave their opening statements Monday before Alameda County Superior Court Judge Jon Rolefson at the René C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland.

Read background on the case.

Authorities say Wallace, 26, and another individual who has not been arrested or publicly identified, walked up to Gary Ferguson Jr., 35, and his friend Larry Belle, and opened fire on them outside Johnson’s House of Style, where Belle worked as a barber, on the morning of Oct. 26, 2010. Authorities found more than 20 bullet casings from two different guns at the scene.

In surveillance video from outside the barber shop, which Wendt played in court Monday for the jury, Wendt said Wallace can be seen getting shot, then limping away as he runs down Sacramento Street after the shooting. He said the suspect in the video wore jeans and tennis shoes that looked similar to the ones detectives found with Wallace in the hospital as he sought treatment for a gunshot wound. Wallace told doctors he was hurt when someone tried to rob him in Richmond. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley man takes plea deal in 2010 murder case

Yellow tags marked the location of evidence at the 2010 shooting scene. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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One of two men charged in a fatal shooting in 2010 outside a Berkeley barbershop, which left a second man critically injured, entered a no contest plea this week in connection with a lesser charge just before the case was slated to head to trial.

Coleon Lee Carroll took the voluntary manslaughter plea as he and co-defendant Brandon Wallace, both 26, ramped up for trial, which had been long delayed due to numerous attorney changes and postponements previously in the court process. Trial preparations for Wallace are underway, and opening arguments are expected in his case in the first half of March.

Authorities identified Carroll and Wallace, during court proceedings in 2012, as “part of a gang in Berkeley called the Waterfront gang.”

Both men had been charged with murder for the Oct. 26, 2010, shooting of 35-year-old Gary Ferguson Jr. outside Johnson’s House of Style on Sacramento Street. A second man, a longtime barber at the shop, was also struck by a hail of bullets when two men walked up to them before 9 a.m. and opened fire. Authorities ultimately identified Carroll as the getaway driver, and Wallace and an unnamed third man as the shooters.

Carroll and Wallace were charged with attempted murder, in connection with the shooting of the barber, and Carroll faced a felony count of possession of a firearm by a felon. (He had been found responsible for committing a robbery in 2007 when he was still a juvenile.)

The plea deal, for voluntary manslaughter and an arming clause, resulted in a sentence of 13 years in state prison, which Carroll will serve at 85% time, said Teresa Drenick, Alameda County district attorney’s office spokeswoman. That translates into total time to be served of about 11 years since his original arrest in 2010. He has been in custody since then. … Continue reading »

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Two years after the shooting of Pamula Mullins, Berkeley police are still looking for clues to her killing

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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. … Continue reading »

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Update: Shooting sends Berkeley man to hospital

Image: Google maps
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One person in South Berkeley was sent to the hospital with a gunshot wound to the leg Sunday night, according to unconfirmed police scanner recordings.

According to scanner traffic, several callers reported the sound of numerous gunshots near Sacramento Street and Alcatraz Avenue shortly before 9:30 p.m. Sunday.

A caller told police one person, with a gunshot wound to the leg, was located at a house in the 3200 block of Sacramento, between Harmon Street and Alcatraz. … Continue reading »

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Shooting on Dohr Street in Berkeley sends man to hospital

Police have not released any suspect information from a shooting near San Pablo Park on Monday night. Image: Google Maps
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A 20-year-old Berkeley man was shot near Sacramento and Ward streets on Monday night, police said Wednesday afternoon.

Monday at approximately 7:05 p.m., the Berkeley Police Department responded to the area of Oregon and Dohr streets following a report of a single gunshot, said Officer Jennifer Coats, Berkeley Police spokeswoman, via email. … Continue reading »

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Shooting of bicyclist Pam Mullins in Berkeley not random

Mullins cropped
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The shooting of 50-year-old Pam Mullins as she was riding her bike on Sacramento Street on Dec. 4 was a targeted attack and not a random killing, according to authorities.

Mullins was not the victim of a bullet gone astray, but someone who was intentionally targeted, said Officer Jennifer Coats, police spokeswoman.

Police declined to discuss why Mullins, an in-home health worker, might be the target of an attack. While she had lived in Berkeley for many years, she had moved into an apartment on Sacramento Street near Ward — about a block from the shooting — just a few weeks before her death, according to family members. … Continue reading »

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Few clues in Berkeley’s fourth homicide of 2012

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
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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.” … Continue reading »

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Sacramento Street neighbors reel from latest shooting

A piece of yellow police tape marks the spot where a woman was shot and killed while riding her bicycle on Tuesday night. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Update, 6:44 p.m.: The Berkeley Police Department has confirmed the identity of shooting victim Pamela Mullins, 50, of Berkeley. Mullins was killed in the 2700 block of Sacramento Street. According to a written statement released at 6:28 p.m.: “BPD detectives are continuing to work hard to gather information and determine a motive for this incident.”

Update, 5 p.m.: The Oakland Tribune is reporting that the shooting victim was 50-year-old Pam Mullins and that she died about 100 feet from her home. Cathy White of Oakland, who told the Tribune she was Mullins’ sister, said Mullins often rode her bike to and from her job as a caregiver, that she lived alone and had recently moved into the apartment.

Original story: The only signs Wednesday morning that a woman was gunned down Tuesday night as she rode her bicycle near Longfellow Middle School was a piece of yellow caution tape flapping in the wind, and three television news vans.

Otherwise it seemed like an average, if rainy, morning. Trucks delivered food to the school cafeteria, parents dropped off students, and stragglers rushed through the rain to make their early classes.

A woman who lives near the corner of Derby and Sacramento streets said she had heard what sounded like a shot Tuesday night but did not know a murder had occurred until she bundled her young son off to school in the morning. … Continue reading »

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Female bicyclist shot and killed on Derby Street

A woman bicyclist was shot Tuesday night in the 1500 block of Derby near Longfellow Middle School.
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This story was updated at 10:42 a.m. See the updated post here. The original story appears below.

A woman was shot and killed Tuesday night while riding her bike in the 1500 block of Derby Street, according to Berkeley police.

Police received a 911 call at 11:36 p.m. that a bicyclist was on the ground near Longfellow Middle School, possibly because of a traffic accident, said Officer Jennifer Coats. When police arrived, they found a woman in her late 40s or early 50s on the ground. She had been shot and was unresponsive, said Coats. Berkeley Fire Department paramedics arrived and pronounced her dead at the scene.

Police are not releasing the victim’s name at this time. … Continue reading »

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Shooting on Sacramento and Oregon, victim wounded

The crime scene at Sacramento and Oregon where a shooting occurred at around 7:30 p.m. on Thursday night. Photo: A citizen reporter
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A shooting tonight in Berkeley at Sacramento and Oregon streets near Bob’s Liquor store at around 7:30pm resulted in one known male victim being transported to Highland Hospital’s trauma unit.

The condition of the victim is unknown and, at 9:00 pm, there were no further details available.

Police were on still  the scene at 9:00pm and requesting reserve units for the investigation.

A resident who lives near the crime scene reported to Berkeleyside hearing eight gunshots at around 7:40pm.

We will … Continue reading »

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