Berkeley man, 19, arrested in Fuchs slaying

Teen, 17, was shot at his Danville home in January

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.

Walter Bell, 19, was arrested Wednesday, and charged with robbery and homicide in connection with the incident.

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."

--Bay City News Service contributed to this story.


Like this comment
Posted by Susan
a resident of Danville
on Nov 19, 2009 at 3:46 pm

It took some time... Great job Danville PD. let's make sure it sticks!

Like this comment
Posted by paulina
a resident of Danville
on Nov 19, 2009 at 4:11 pm

10 months.. it wont bring him back but itll finally bring some closer.

Like this comment
Posted by Don G.
a resident of Alamo
on Nov 19, 2009 at 5:04 pm

Thank you Danville P.D.

Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on Nov 19, 2009 at 6:56 pm

I so hope this brings some sense of closure to the family. They have been through so much.

Like this comment
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Alamo
on Nov 19, 2009 at 7:04 pm

A big step in the right direction. My son left for Central America in July and took Rylan's photo with him. I am forwarding this article to him. Rylan's parents can be reaffirmed that none of us have forgotten Rylan or the daily struggles they face.

Like this comment
Posted by Kelly
a resident of Monte Vista High School
on Nov 19, 2009 at 7:23 pm

A huge thank you to the Danville Police Dept.

Like this comment
Posted by Janine
a resident of Blackhawk
on Nov 20, 2009 at 6:30 am

Amazing how team work truly got the job done. To the Danville Police and CC Sheriffs Dept. way to go!

Like this comment
Posted by steve
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 20, 2009 at 6:35 am

So sorry for Ryans passing but hope that this arrest may bring some peace to his family.

Like this comment
Posted by Thisisreallysad
a resident of Danville
on Nov 20, 2009 at 7:21 am

I never knew Rylan all that well. I had gone to school with him since middle school. He was always nice to me, even if others weren't. I didn't expect his passing to affect me the way it did, and I can't even imagine what his family and friends are going through. I am so so sorry for your loss. The people that committed this crime will pay for what they did. Justice always prevails. His family will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. It's been 10 months, but I know the pain never goes away. May the Lord be with you during this difficult time.

Like this comment
Posted by Still Sick of Rick
a resident of Blackhawk
on Nov 21, 2009 at 11:34 am

A Rick by any other name is still the same reactionary windbag. The guy who pulled the trigger is most likely going to get life without possibility of parole. Because it's a homicide that stemmed from a robbery he gets special circumstances. Either death penalty or life. Either way he won't get away with anything. Stop trying to make people think you know something you don't.

And stop making threats about all the guns you own. You are all talk no action so stop talking. It's not interesting anymore. If it ever was.

Like this comment
Posted by Gunslinger .45
a resident of Danville
on Nov 21, 2009 at 1:10 pm

I'm equally sick of you as you are of me. I wasn't professing anything more than a declarative sentence as to what seemed to be apparent from merely knowing about the case, the degree of noise made outside the house (none), the length of time he was gone, which apparently wasn't long, and where the poor kid was shot. That suggests an ambush behind the back hit.

Like this comment
Posted by Katie
a resident of Monte Vista High School
on Nov 21, 2009 at 4:11 pm

I'm so glad they finally arrested him. I miss Rylan so much and this makes me feel that there is some closure.
Ron and Karen and Trey I love you all and of course Paulina :)
Thank you Danville P.D!

Like this comment
Posted by Marie
a resident of Danville
on Nov 23, 2009 at 6:53 am

Am I missing something? Was someting deleted? The comments from/about Rick, Still Sick of Rick, and Gunslinger .45 don't make sense.

I respect you Thisisreallysad!

God bless the Fuchs family!

Like this comment
Posted by Greg
a resident of Danville
on Nov 24, 2009 at 11:17 am

You are thanking the wrong people. It was the C.C.C. Sheriff's Homecide Unit that made the arrest. danville police could not have done it! I would love to see a danville cop in an Oakland P.D, uniform for one day.............they would quit their job! Where were they when every other police department was helping O.P.D. while they were attending the funerals for the FOUR HERO'S? Think about it. Every other department was there to help out but DANVILLE.
Were were afraid!!!!
I am glad for the Fuchs family.........I hopr they rot in jail!

Like this comment
Posted by Sir Betemore
a resident of Danville
on Nov 24, 2009 at 12:49 pm

Greg, I agree with your assessment of our police department, and my heart also goes out to the Fuch's family. And like you, I think that Rylan's murderer should reap as he sowed.

That said, we must remember that according to our laws the person in custody is "the accused" until he is convicted. I sympathize with everyone's sentiments in this forum, but I fear that trying "the accused" in this forum or in other media will be used by the defense to claim that this guy cannot get a fair trial. We should not give the defense that excuse.

Like this comment
Posted by Gunslinger .45
a resident of Danville
on Nov 25, 2009 at 9:37 am

Yeah, I don't think so. We should air this out good in the public forum, see where all the hitches in the system are that got this kid killed. Then, make damn sure it doesn't happen again.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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