ATLANTA - New video released on Monday show three men storming into a popular wine bar in Atlanta’s Westside neighborhood during the early morning hours Sunday. Police said the extremely violent armed robbery turned unnecessarily deadly and investigators have raised the reward to get these dangerous men off the streets.
The video shows the men, like a streak running into the patio area of the Barcelona Wine Bar located at 1085 Howell Mill Road around 1:45 a.m. as the establishment was closing. A person just inside the patio area dives to the ground, but is then forced up and inside the business by one of the men.
The next clip provided by Atlanta Police shows one of the men, wearing a black hoodie and an extremely distinctive style of pants binding the hands of an employee with electrical tape near the dishwashing station.
Not on the video released by police, was the brutal assault of 29-year-old Chelsea Beller, a well-loved employee, who investigators said was forced upsofficeo the officer area to open the safe and then was shot in the shoulder. Beller was rushed to Grady Memorial Hospital where she was later pronounced dead.
Barcelona remained closed Monday. Well-wishers placed flowers at the restaurant's front entrance in memory of the popular bartender.
"Just to see such a young, vibrant person taken out of the world it really hurts to see that," said Donald Strohman.
Eric Jerral stopped by on the chance the restaurant had reopened to offer his condolences to Beller's co-workers.
"Sad News. My wife and I are regular customers here. We've gotten to know several members of the staff here quite well and we had the pleasure of meeting the young lady that was killed," said Jerral.
"Every time I saw her I always saw her with a smile on her face," said Travis Borden, Holler and Dash restaurant.
For Borden, knowing robbers shot Beller even after she did what they ordered makes her death all the more tragic.
"I just can't believe the audacity of the individuals that were there you know seems like they got what they wanted and still decided to make the ultimate decision," said Borden.
Barcelona Wine Bar's General Manager Eric Ferraro said the loss was a "horrible tragedy."
"It has shaken all of us. As the investigation gets underway, we are working closely with Atlanta police to help them with the investigation," he said in a statement. "Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with her family and our team," Ferraro said.
The Atlanta Police Department issued the following statement Monday regarding the violent encounter:
“No crime against our citizens, anywhere in the city, is acceptable. But the robbery and murder of an innocent restaurant manager doing her job is a terrible crime that has shocked even the most jaded among us here at APD. We have made fighting violent crime our priority, and this incident underscores that our work is never done. Our investigators are working diligently to find those responsible for this crime. We will continue to focus our efforts on identifying and apprehending violent repeat offenders who prey on innocent people. These crimes are unacceptable, and we will not rest in our pursuit of shutting down these violent criminals.”
The Crime Stoppers reward has increased to $7,000 for tips that may lead to an arrest and indictment. Anyone with information is asked to call 404-577-TIPS (8477). Tipsters can remain anonymous.