The investigation into the shooting death of a 17-year-old San Ramon Valley High School senior may soon yield an arrest, according to the stepfather of the victim.
Ron Harmon's stepson Rylan Fuchs died of a gunshot wound to the throat early Wednesday morning. He was shot in front of the family's home in the 1000 block of El Capitan Drive in Danville.
Detectives from the Danville Police Department and the Contra Costa Sheriff's Department are looking for suspects in the Tuesday evening shooting that left the teen dead.
Harmon said Rylan came home around 8 p.m. that night after going to the gym and visiting his girlfriend. As far as he knew, Rylan was still in the house an hour later at the time of the shooting.
"He came out of his room with his dinner dishes and I swear it wasn't two minutes later and I heard a 'pop,' then a kind of thump on the front door," a still shaken Harmon said.
He and his wife Karen Williams were in the house watching television when he heard the noise and he rushed to the door, thinking that it was neighborhood kids fooling around.
"I was going to scare them," he said, "and I pulled open the door and he tumbled in."
Harmon said at first all he could see was the blood.
"I grabbed him and I thought, 'This kid's hurt.' Then I realized, 'Oh my god, that's my kid.'"
Harmon said he yelled to his wife to call 9-1-1 and to his 9-year-old stepson to get some towels to help stop the bleeding from the wound to his throat.
"I couldn't stop it," Harmon recalled. "It wasn't spurting out, it was shooting out."
Fuchs was transported to San Ramon Medical Center, but was then moved to John Muir Hospital in Walnut Creek. Despite two surgeries to stop the bleeding, the teen died early the next morning.
Something Harmon saw while at the hospital may be what leads police to the killer.
"We were leaving San Ramon hospital and I saw Rylan's girlfriend and another kid in the parking lot. I asked her how she knew," recalled Harmon. The girl told them that she'd received a text message that Rylan had been shot.
At John Muir even more of Rylan's friends were there, begging the question of who sent the initial texts.
"We didn't tell anybody," Harmon said. "How did they all know to come there?"
Speculation has it that Rylan may have received a text message to come outside the family's home and he snuck out of his bedroom window. He was shot just a moment later.
Harmon said he has been pleased with the Danville Police Department's handling of the teen's murder and he is confident that an arrest is imminent.
He added that once the arrest is made, it will compound the tragedy.
"The sad part of this scenario is that two families lives will be ruined," he said. "Ours because we lost a son. And the family of whoever did this to him. Their is probably never going to see daylight again."
Investigators have not confirmed any "person of interest" so far in the case and no press conferences have been scheduled at this point to announce an arrest.
Fuchs was a senior at San Ramon Valley High School, set to graduate in June. School District spokesman Terry Koehne addressed reporters and offered the district's sympathy to Fuchs' family.
He said the students and faculty at SRVHS were shocked by the news.
"They're very emotional. They're trying to grapple with this." He added, "Rylan was a relatively quiet but well known kid on campus."
Counselors have been called in to the high school to handle the situation and to help the students and faculty work through the shock and grief. "We've mobilized our crisis team on campus," said Koehne. "They will be there for as long as they're needed."
Flowers, candles and messages of support have been left on the porch where Ryan Fuchs was shot. Harmon said that Wednesday night the street outside his home was filled with young people coming to pay their respects to their friend and his family.
"There had to be 500 kids out here last night," Harmon recalled. "It might not have been every kid at San Ramon, but it was damned close."
Despite the tragedy that has befallen the family, Harmon was able to smile at the memory of all those people coming to offer their condolences.
"If there's one positive thing about this it's knowing how many people Rylan's life touched. That was a wonderful tribute last night. It made me feel good that he was that loved."
Harmon also used his own personal loss to remind parents to appreciate their children.
"Our children are just on loan to us from the Lord," he said. "We only have them for a short while. Be blessed with them while you have them."
Funeral and burial arrangements are expected to be announced in the next few days.
Any person with additional information regarding the death of Rylan Fuchs is asked to immediately contact Danville Police Lt. Mark Williams at 314-3701.