The 10-month-long investigation into the slaying of 17-year-old Rylan Fuchs is coming to an end, as police Thursday announced the arrest of a Berkeley resident in connection with the shooting death.
Fuchs was shot outside his parents' Danville home Jan. 20. After being rushed to the hospital, the San Ramon Valley High School student died in the early morning hours the next day.
Danville Police Chief Chris Wenzel announced the arrest, crediting solid detective work by both his officers and the Homicide Unit of the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department.
"It was a difficult case. There wasn't a lot of physical evidence at the scene at the time of the shooting," Wenzel explained. "It was because of a lot of hard work and the time spent by the Police Department and more so by the Sheriff's Department's Homicide Unit that we were able to make the arrest."
Bell had been in custody at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin on an unrelated charge. He was set to be released around 1 p.m. when officers from Danville Police Department and the Sheriff's Department placed him under arrest and transported him to the Martinez Detention Facility.
According to prosecutor Harold Jewett, the victim, Rylan Fuchs, had agreed to meet Bell the night of the shooting to sell him a "fairly sizable amount of marijuana."
But when Bell approached Fuchs, Jewett said, he was allegedly holding a gun and attempted to scare Fuchs into giving up the marijuana without payment.
"According to Bell, the gun accidentally discharged and he and his cohorts ran away," Jewett said.
Jewett said he couldn't discuss how many people are believed to have been with Bell during the alleged robbery and shooting because the investigation is ongoing.
Fuchs' step-father Ron Harmon said he was very pleased with the arrest and relieved that the case is coming to a close.
"I don't care how long it took as long as they got it right," he stated. "It looks like they crossed all the t's and dotted all the i's because now they've got all the players."
Harmon said he was told by officials that after being confronted by police that Bell had confessed to his step-son's slaying.
"He wrote it and videotaped his confession," Harmon said. "Talked about the whole nine yards, all the players."
Harmon added, "He said it was an accident. They came here with the intent to rob him and I guess they got into a tussle and the gun went off."
Officials have said throughout the investigation that the altercation revolved around a drug transaction. Harmon said he doesn't know what happened or what Rylan's involvement was. He said he just knows that all the teenager had on him at the time of his death was a lighter.
In addition to Bell's arrest police announced that a juvenile originally held as a suspect in the case is still believed to be involved.
The 16 year old, a former SRVHS student, was brought in for questioning and then arrested on an unrelated outstanding warrant.
Harmon said he is aware of another suspect in the case but it could not be confirmed if a third arrest was made.
With Bell in custody, Harmon said that he and Rylan's mother, Karen Williams, may get some closure on this tragic event.
"I guess my peace will come when a judge renders a sentence," he said. "Karen and I are very much looking forward to that day because before that sentence is rendered we're going to get the opportunity to face him."
Harmon said that he and his wife intend to be in court throughout the hearing process.
"Karen and I will be there every time his butt goes before that judge," he said. "He's going to get to know my face before he goes away to jail."
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