Atlanta police announced Saturday night the first arrest in the November shooting death of a manager at a popular Westside restaurant — and that the reward has been increased for information leading to the remaining two suspects.
Samuel Ott, 21, was taken into custody and charged with felony murder, aggravated assault, kidnapping and false imprisonment in connection with the Nov. 19 homicide of Barcelona Wine Bar manager Chelsea Beller. Ott is being held at the Fulton County jail, Atlanta police said in a news release.
Ott was tied to the robbery and fatal shooting after “blood evidence from clothing and other materials discarded near the crime scene” were matched to his DNA, police said. Authorities announced earlier this week that they had a DNA match to a suspect but had not released Ott’s name.
Ott’s arrest was described as just the “first” in the case. Authorities have previously said three men were involved in the robbery, which was caught on surveillance cameras.
“Our homicide investigators have worked tirelessly to purse justice for Chelsea Beller and the other employees who were tied up, robbed and terrorized that night,” Atlanta police Chief Erika Shields said in a news release. “It’s only a matter of time before the evidence will lead us to the other two who carried out this cold-blooded and cowardly act.”
Beller, 29, was one of a handful of employees closing up shop at the restaurant in the Westside Ironworks development on Howell Mill Road when the suspects stormed in around 1:45 a.m. that morning, restraining employees with electrical tape.
Beller was shot in the shoulder after she opened the restaurant’s safe for the suspects, police have said. She later died at Grady Memorial Hospital.
It was not immediately clear what role police believe Ott played in the robbery. He was able to be identified via DNA because of his “previous criminal history,” police said.
The reward for information leading to the arrest and indictment of the remaining suspects has been increased to $38,000. Anyone with information is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 404-577-TIPS or visit crimestoppersatlanta.org.
Tipsters can remain anonymous.