“Blood evidence from clothing and other materials discarded near the crime scene” were matched to Ott’s DNA, police said. Authorities announced earlier last 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 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 that morning, restraining employees with electrical tape.
Beller was shot in the shoulder after she opened the restaurant’s safe for the suspects, police 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 arrest was welcome news for those who knew Beller.
“I’m very thankful that we have some steps towards closure, knowing who perpetrated this horrific crime,” said Fiona Sites-Bowen, a friend of Beller and a regular at Barcelona.
Sites-Bowen, who had actually planned to be at the restaurant the night of the incident before a last-minute change, had been worried about security protocols there. Now, she just wants police to continue their search.
“I have full faith that the other participants will be quickly found, and that justice will be brought to this tragedy sooner than later. Nothing can ever bring Chelsea back to us, but knowing that we can find a little peace means the world,” she said.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 404-577-TIPS or visit crimestoppersatlanta.org. Tipsters can remain anonymous.
Staff writer Ben Brasch contributed to this article.