Bell was arrested on Christmas Eve for allegedly trying to steal a number of shirts and a pair of jeans from a department store. In 2006, he was arrested along with five other young men on attempted murder chargers for beating a white teenager who allegedly was involved with racially contentious incidents at their high school.
The charges against Bell and his the other students garnered widespread attention and protest for their severity. Unhappy with the continued attention he was attracting from his shoplifting arrest, Bell allegedly shot himself in the chest with a .22 caliber pistol. He is recovering from his injuries.