The victims of a double homicide this month in the Parkway Garden neighborhood of Fairfield were killed when they and two other men tried to rob another man at gunpoint during a marijuana deal gone awry, Fairfield police said this afternoon.
Vedell Chew, 24, of Fairfield; Bernard Francis Knight, 18, of East Palo Alto; Marcel Rutherford-Chew, 18, of Redwood City; and Daren Trahan, 21, of East Palo Alto drove to Fairfield on March 7 to buy marijuana from 21-year-old Blake Johnson of Vallejo, Officer Cleo Mayoral said. Johnson fatally shot Vedell Chew and Knight when they, Trahan and Marcel Rutherford-Chew tried to steal his money or marijuana at gunpoint, Mayoral said. “It is believed that four occupants of a vehicle were engaged in illicit activities on El Toro Court on March 7. That activity led to those same individuals initiating a gun battle which left two of their associates dead,” Lt. Greg Hurlbut said in a news release.
Trahan and Rutherford-Chew — Vedell Chew’s cousin — were arrested for Vedell Chew’s and Knight’s murders when they surrendered to Fairfield police on March 10. They were booked into the Solano County jail for the murders but were released when the Solano County District Attorney’s Office said on March 13 it would not prosecute them pending further investigation. Police now have a no-bail arrest warrant for Rutherford-Chew for the murders and armed robbery and want to talk to Trahan, Mayoral said.
Police also are looking for additional witnesses to the homicides. Police are working around the clock with the family of Marcel Rutherford-Chew to arrange for his surrender, Hurlbut said. Witnesses earlier reported a chaotic scene on El Toro Court around 4:45 p.m. on March 7 that left Vedell Chew and Knight dead in the street, police said.
Johnson was arrested for the two murders on Monday in Sacramento after he was spotted riding a train from Nevada into California. He was booked into the Solano County jail. Hurlbut said the intense and extensive investigation into the gun battle that killed the two men took Fairfield detectives to Alameda and San Mateo counties. “Both the Solano County District Attorney’s Office and the Fairfield Police Department believe the actions that led to two tragic deaths on March 7, 2012 were the result of deliberate, unlawful acts by the deceased parties and their associates,” Hurlbut said.
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