East Bay Teacher's Death Anniversary Nears, But Suspected Killers Remain at Large

An Oakland resident was gunned down on an East Bay trail a year ago, but police have yet to nab a suspect.

David Ruenzel, a 62-year-old teacher, writer, husband and new grandfather, was shot dead Nov. 25, 2014 while hiking at the Huckleberry Botanic Preserve.

But his death has been followed by a year of futility and frustration for both investigators and the Ruenzel family.

East Bay Regional Park District police, working with local agencies, have interviewed a dozen people who heard the gunshots or passed the suspects on the trail last year.

David Ruenzel’s widow, Nancy Aldrich-Ruenzel on Sunday told parishioners at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Oakland, that the comfort they’ve given her has sparked hope. But she is dumbfounded by the fact that suspected killers depicted in detailed police sketches remain at large.

"I was very hopeful there’d be solid leads, but there aren’t," she said. "I don’t understand."

Investigators have ruled out the chance that Ruenzel came upon a drug deal gone south. A theory still in play is that the victim may have been mistaken for someone else the gunmen were seeking.

However, investigators have been unable to find anyone able to describe a getaway vehicle, which has hampered search efforts.

"I wouldn’t say the case is cold, but we just need the public’s help," said Carolyn Jones, a spokeswoman for the East Bay Regional Park District.

Nancy Aldrich-Ruenzel said she still seeks justice, if not for her and the couple’s two grown children, then for David Ruenzel’s father.

"It’s very important for David’s father," she stressed. "He’s 90 and it was very hard for him to lose a son."

Police have offered a $25,000 reward in exchange for information leading to the capture of Ruenzel’s killers.

People with information are requested to call the East Bay Regional Park District's anonymous tip line at (510) 881-1833.

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