The man police believe was Berkeley's first homicide victim of 2014 lived in this building on Addison Street. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Sylvan Fuselier, Berkeley’s first homicide victim of 2014, lived in this building in the 1100 block of Addison Street. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Update, March 14, 3:45 p.m.: Berkeleyside checked in with the Berkeley Police Department to see if any additional information was available about the Sylvan Fuselier homicide. Due to the ongoing investigation, police said there is not: “We don’t have any developments or updates to disclose at this point on the Fuselier homicide. Homicide investigators are working full bore on it, with support from other BPD detectives as well. It’s an active investigation. As such, we’re not able to disclose information on cause of death at this point. No arrests have been made, and we don’t have suspect information to disclose at this time.”

Original story, March 6: Berkeley Police have identified the first homicide victim of the year as 54-year-old Sylvan Fuselier. They are offering a $15,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect, or suspects, responsible for what they describe as the murder that happened in the 1100 block of Addison Street.

On Friday, Feb. 28, at approximately 11:48 a.m., the Berkeley Police Department received a welfare check request from a member of the community who was concerned because they had not seen Fuselier for several days. The 54-year-old lived in an apartment on the 1100 block of Addison Street, just east of San Pablo Avenue.

According to the Berkeley Police Department, officers obtained access to the home, and discovered Fuselier deceased in the apartment. Further investigation of the scene determined that he had been murdered, police said.

Read full Berkeleyside coverage of the case.

The Police Department said in a statement released Thursday afternoon that the crime does not appear to have been a random act.

They also said they were withholding detailed information regarding the crime scene, injuries and the possible cause of death “in order to avoid potentially compromising the investigation.”

Earlier this week, some residents of Fuselier’s West Berkeley neighborhood said the lack of information that had been shared by authorities had left them feeling unsettled and unsafe.

The two-block stretch of Addison Street has struggled to overcome a slew of past problems, from homeless squatters to prostitution and drug dealing, though improved conditions have come about in recent years, neighbors said.

The police statement continued: “We are releasing the victim’s name with the approval of the Alameda County Coroner’s Office. Investigators believe the reward in this case may be helpful in obtaining information about the suspect in this case.”

Some of the dead man’s neighbors — who asked to remain anonymous due to safety concerns — said Fuselier had lived in his second-floor apartment in a four-unit building on Addison for at least five years.

Berkeley Police ask anyone with information on this case to call the Homicide Detail at 510-981-5741, or the non-emergency line at 510-981-5900. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can use the Bay Area Crime Stoppers Tip Line at 800-222-TIPS (8477).

Breaking: 1 held, 1 freed in Berkeley hatchet homicide (10.23.14)
Berkeley neighbors express concerns after recent homicide (03.05.14)
Berkeley police investigating homicide on Addison Street (03.01.14)

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Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...