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State of emergency declared following shootings on St Croix

V.I. Police officers converge on the Ruby Rouss housing community on St. Croix after the occupants of three vehicles opened fire on a small crowd of people gathered there Friday evening. Photo:Virgin Islands Daily News/Rob Jones
 Acting Gov. Osbert Potter talks to the news media Saturday at Government House about the tide of violence washing over St. Croix. Photo: St Thomas Source
Acting Gov. Osbert Potter talks to the news media Saturday at Government House about the tide of violence washing over St. Croix. Photo: St Thomas Source

Retaliation. Retaliation. Retaliation.

And it did not stop Saturday. As reporters gathered at Government House for a press conference with acting Gov. Osbert E. Potter concerning the tide of violence that had spread across St. Croix, reports came in of another shooting that had just taken place on Queen Mary Highway near the red light by St. Croix Central High School – another car riddled with bullets, another young man hit by several bullets and in serious condition.

Potter, acting as governor while Gov. Kenneth Mapp is out of the territory, said authorities believed the spate of shooting taking place around St. Croix – from Estate Whim on Friday morning to Water Gut early Friday evening to the one Saturday morning, were connected.

Shortly after the news conference, Potter declared a state of emergency in the territory.

A Government House news release said Potter was appealing to the public “to dismantle the veil of secrecy and non-cooperation with law enforcement agencies, which too often hampers efforts to bring perpetrators of violent crime to justice.”

“As the vicious cycle of senseless murders and gun play permeates our territory, I appeal to the residents of this community, who are the parents, relatives, friends, and associates of the victims, to cooperate with and assist police and all law enforcement agencies in their efforts to solve these crimes. Since many of these violent crimes seem to be retaliatory in nature, we must, as a community, change the mind set of victims and their associates, who too often take it upon themselves to resolve matters on their own, as if to preserve some code of honor,” Potter was quoted in the release.

The declaration of emergency will continue until further order. The order deputizes all territorial peace officers as law enforcement officers to perform public safety functions as required by the governor. Each will report directly to the commissioner of the Virgin Islands Police Department or his representative.

Potter said Saturday at noon that he had been just briefed by the police and was informed that the situation was “fluid, things are still in process.” He outlined actions that were being immediately taken by the authorities:

– Checkpoints were being set up

– All police office leave was being cancelled

– Police officers were being put on 12-hour shifts.

– Assessments were being made whether the National Guard had assets that could be used to combat the problem.

Later Saturday, St. Croix Police Chief Arthur Hector Sr. issued a news release saying the island was not under curfew, but that police are on "high alert."

“I’ve received numerous calls from residents on the island of St. Croix, who’ve questioned me as to a curfew having been established for the island. I want to take this opportunity to dispel the rumor and advise the general public that no curfew, has been put into effect for the island of St. Croix.”

“The police officers of St. Croix are on high-alert and working diligently, in conjunction with both local and federal law enforcement agencies, to maintain the safety of our island’s residents and visitors alike in the wake of recently heightened criminal activity that has caused much consternation throughout our community,” he said.

The shooting spree led to the cancelation of a planned Warm-Up J'ouvert that had been slated for Saturday morning in Christiansted.

Bloody Friday

The Whim homicide was the ninth homicide on St. Croix since the beginning of the year, the 24th in the territory.

According to the police reports, a man and woman Friday morning had gone to the Georges Christian Academy Daycare Center to retrieve their young child. While the woman went into the facility, the man sat outside in their vehicle. A male drove up to the vehicle and shot him with a high-powered weapon, then fled the scene, leaving the man lifeless in the SUV.

Then, officers responding to a 911 call at 5:16 p.m., reporting the discharge of a firearm in Estate St. George, intercepted a vehicle on West Airport Road, transporting an injured man to the Juan F. Luis Hospital and Medical Center for treatment of gunshot wounds to the foot and shoulder.

The victim of the incident did not provide police with a description of the suspect who had shot him.

Then it got really bad.

'18 Minutes of Solid Gunfire'

At 6:57 p.m. Friday neighbors in the area of D. Hamilton Jackson Terrace in Christiansted reported multiple gunshots.

Former Sen. Holland Redfield told reporters attending the press conference that he witnessed the incident. “It was 18 minutes of solid gunfire. Mothers were running out to grab their children. Three vehicles. Gunmen were firing from the passenger side of the vehicles,” Redfield said. He added the vehicles turned around in the bus shanty parking lot to spray the area again. He said shots were returned from the buildings from gunmen in windows.

Four individuals with non-life threatening wounds sustained in the shooting were transported to the Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital by ambulance.

Potter said about 100 shots were fired in the incident just outside of downtown Christiansted and, “the number of victims could easily have been higher. Bullets don’t have eyes. It could’ve resulted in a serious massacre.”

Other incidents on St. Croix on Friday included an attempted robbery of Napoleon’s Pizza, a shooting in Mon Bijou and the wrongful discharge of a firearm in Estate Profit. Only in the Estate Profit incident has a suspect been arrested.

On Thursday, a young man was shot and killed near the University of the Virgin Islands on St. Thomas and, on Friday, two men were wounded in the Hospital Grounds area of St. Thomas. These incidents do not appear to be connected to the St. Croix incidents, although, they too might involve motivations of retaliation, according to Potter.

Sens. Novelle Francis, Kurt Vialet and Nellie O’Reilly attended the press conference. After the conference, Francis told the Source; “The brazenness of these acts and the retaliations have sunk to a new low.”

In a news release issued Saturday afternoon, Senate President Neville James called the spate of violence "deplorable," and said it was a case of a "turf war."

"The callousness and indifference towards the life of human beings is something we desperately have to improve upon, and quickly, because my island has no more lives to spare," he said in the statement.

"I have been in constant communication with acting Gov. Osbert Potter and Police Commissioner Delroy Richards, who have informed me that there is increased police presence throughout St. Croix as a result of what they believe is a turf war that has lead to retaliatory behavior within the criminal element."

The senator pointed to the proliferation of firearms in the territory as part of the problem.

"The community continues to be confounded at the type of weapons, the makes and models of machinery that are in the hands of our at-risk young people. Sting operations on those who are illegally selling these weapons need to be ramped up post haste," James said.

44 Responses to “State of emergency declared following shootings on St Croix”

  • 123 (06/09/2015, 11:50) Like (7) Dislike (2) Reply
    Look war so close to home
  • dog (06/09/2015, 11:58) Like (10) Dislike (21) Reply
    we are not far behind. If you see something say something. But the problem is "retaliation" for blowing the whistle.When is this going to stop?? guns are not glamourous.
    • .... (07/09/2015, 08:01) Like (27) Dislike (2) Reply
      We are not far behind? Don't put that on us Budd. We are very far behind. Everywhere has its share of crime and the BVI is no exception. But the comparison between the BVI and USVI is like night and day. 24 homicides in the USVI to how much here, 1?? Random shootouts in broad daylights and you comparing that to us?? Come on dude. We have our issues as well, clearly, but it is nothing close to this.
      • dog (07/09/2015, 18:59) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
        so where are we going with all these guns on the streets, in clubs, in cars? What I am saying is this is how it begins. And neighbours know who they are. retaliation is alive and well. Maybe not with guns right now, but people threatening neighbours, one group bullying the other, bad-mouthing, sabotaging. You know it happens. Criminals still out there and emboldened because of it. So where does it stop? Have you ever heard of "indication of harm, not proof of harm" as a sign post? By the time events prove harm it may be too late. Try and figure out now what the social pressures are and get community activism going to save the children.
      • dog (08/09/2015, 12:41) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        no, we may not have as many shootings, but this is how it starts. study the causes and try to head it off. It may NEVER get as bad as St Croix but why not try and fix pressures and social inequalities and see where the fault lies.
      • dog (09/09/2015, 09:47) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        it starts somewhere. The number of shootings is not the issue. But how does this crime culture begin and grow underground? Like an infection, someone may be sicker than we are, but now we have the virus. How do we stop it? THAT is the point. Not number of homicides.
  • son of the soil (06/09/2015, 12:31) Like (31) Dislike (71) Reply
    This is a mixture of local and island people children. We original virgin islanders have been contaminated. This is the result of cross breeding.
    • @ son (06/09/2015, 13:40) Like (29) Dislike (13) Reply
      Not cross breeding. In breeding.
    • -___- (06/09/2015, 14:57) Like (41) Dislike (4) Reply
      Cross breeding?? I can't believe people actually liked this comment. You all must be the product of inbreeding.
      • MIX LOCAL (07/09/2015, 04:23) Like (4) Dislike (13) Reply
        Not at all. This mixture of local and certain islands people spells contamination indeed!
    • hellboy (06/09/2015, 18:30) Like (28) Dislike (6) Reply
      there are no original virgin Islanders on the planet
    • Something is wrong (06/09/2015, 22:13) Like (9) Dislike (17) Reply
      Even alot of people who come in here to work from various countries if you check their countries especially their crime rate and sex trade it is unbelievable no wonder they come here and treat people especially BVIslanders like dirt.
    • wize up (07/09/2015, 07:20) Like (24) Dislike (14) Reply
      @ son of the soil; that is why the white folks will continue taking your lands and make you a second class citzen right here in your territory: I submit to you that the Island people are not your concern; those white kids born here will kick your &lack @$$ right here in BVI: look good, the white folks here have their own gated communities, the white folks here have their own schools and social clubs( and you are not openly invited): my point; you have all manner of bull-$hit to speak about your own black race BUT the white race up in here taking over and fools like you have nothing to say about it: example, our water plants went from the hands of the local blacks to the hands of the whites; our head of police went from the hands of the local black man to the white man!!! son of the soil you sound like a house nigger BUT you have the right to express your opinion!!!! one love cuz
      • Sea Horse (07/09/2015, 09:51) Like (6) Dislike (5) Reply

        @wize up

        You give the "white man" too much credit. Kick our a$$3s? Their violent historical strength came mainly from larger numbers and/or guns. Don't you see what the blacks and Mexicans are doing to them in the USA now that the playing field is being leveled? They are slowly losing majority status, and nowadays everybody has lots of guns.

        And overseas, they are getting their a@@ kicked in Iraq Syria and Afghanistan. That's why they are using drones and are not sending troops on the ground. And now that they can no longer steal Africa's resources, the "third world" economies are catching up with them.

        Without those advantages which they alone once had, they are nothing. They are not the violent thugs they once were, and are now starting to ask for others to leave them in peace.

        • wize up (07/09/2015, 15:21) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply

          @ sea horse: I hear you and you are wize enough to understand the system: we have to nip certain things in the bud: all I am saying leave our fellow black brothers alone they are not our enemy: the focus should be on the w>>>> tribe

      • onlooker (07/09/2015, 16:55) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        @Wise Up ..We Are not independent.. and lets talk crap now.We do not export only inport..I bet u ..your country rich than my country.And u here... talking PISS at bvi..Why u here ? u could of.go to some place in Caribbean right...Wrong Caribbean is EC money and here is US..So stop talking about this country of mine..Everyone leaving to come here and not going to the different Caribbean country's..This currency is Good ..I guss u need it more than we BVI People...Pack up and leave loudly please Go..
      • Gaia (09/09/2015, 10:47) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        I'm from Brazil, a multicultural country. I think there's something wrong with my pc or my internet. I find so many commentaries that apears come from rock age with racism and superiority complexes, and I find word how "race", "contaminated" and others amazing preconceituous things. How if everybody had missed scholl just when the teacher of History had annonced the important descovery of hummanity that all the people linving in this planet was genereted in Africa. Please, Americans, do you work to hummanity: go study history. I'm not trying study and learn you language to read terrible things like that. Shame.
      • Blackson (10/04/2016, 02:52) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
        Stop acting like da savage and we'll be welcoming by normal white brothers. stop mak excuse fear us.
    • HAHA (07/09/2015, 13:14) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      Son of the're an idiot.
    • dog (07/09/2015, 17:04) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Son of the soil you are a sick bastard that need hanging
      • the real dog (11/09/2015, 22:56) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        Now with all the postings above, does this really sound like dog? no. So get your own identity and quit adding fuel to the fire. You are an impostor. and this isn't the first time.
  • next (06/09/2015, 15:29) Like (0) Dislike (18) Reply
    bvi next rust me
    • close (06/09/2015, 17:06) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
      Not rush me trust you idiot
      • Editor (07/09/2015, 08:20) Like (3) Dislike (7) Reply
        CLOSE, you seems to be a bigger idiot, NEXT didn't say rush me, he said rust me, so both you and next are idiots, but i would class you as the bigger idiot because you tried to correct NEXT and still made the mistake he did. Two smart @$$.
  • Truth to be told. (06/09/2015, 15:34) Like (28) Dislike (1) Reply
    You can't give police in the bvi any information on someone because it's the same polices that is going back on the streets to their friends and in their bed with their women or men to say that you are the person that gave them the tip off!!!! Bvi police are full of crap. The force need cleansing!!!
  • SMH (06/09/2015, 15:47) Like (16) Dislike (8) Reply
    Son of the soil... U sound so stupid... Well if so u thinking... Why u don't go breed ur sis an cuz an the rest of ur u can keep it Original...
    • SIDS (06/09/2015, 17:30) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      WE DO
      • Dasheen (06/09/2015, 20:24) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
        Note that Son of soil specified the contaminant so open your minds, breed selectively. The world is out there from which to pick and choose.
        Our future depends on it.
  • VG-1 (06/09/2015, 16:40) Like (15) Dislike (3) Reply
    St. Croix is the wild west of the VIs. Ruthless killers. That kind of stuff has cost St. Croix alot when it comes to tourism. No ships wanted to go there for that same reason. All this arms and drug dealing is the cause of all this foolishness we see going on in these islands.
  • Toilet (06/09/2015, 19:40) Like (10) Dislike (3) Reply
    The usvi is the cess pit of the Caribbean. Forget all the other countries we like to blame, the real mess is where most of our own are born.
  • bullship (06/09/2015, 20:27) Like (1) Dislike (8) Reply
    several dead in dominica and they don't have a state of emergency.
    • wize up (07/09/2015, 07:26) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
      @ bullship: are you just slow or simply stupid: on St Croix you have an outbreak of violent crime while on Dominican you had a natural disaster
    • to bullship (07/09/2015, 07:45) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      Tell me wa crime Dominica had sttps could police have stopped the storm ......
  • shark (06/09/2015, 21:48) Like (2) Dislike (13) Reply
    Just a matter of time.its a melting pot here waiting in the B.V.I to erupt
    remember i tell you all so.
  • shottas (07/09/2015, 07:46) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Y u think bvibgoingnerupt like that unless them senseless persons come over to bvi to mash up we island with y'all foreign style
  • Voter Too (07/09/2015, 07:47) Like (9) Dislike (1) Reply
    You are so right@ dog. you cant even big up your chess and say praise the Lord this dont happen in my country but it is all over and it is getting worse and worse.Yes si ves algo di algo(if you see something,say something) but this sometimes fall on deaf ears and some are blinded when it comes to things like this but we are quick to report or gossip that so and so husband do becoming out of Jane apartment every foreday morning but wont complain when you see Tom selling drugs on the basketball court.We are our brother's keeper, what gone wrong a morning cant come goog a night but it can go good if we all work together. Sometimes we think oh because I am Christian or my family is a Christian and we cant go down that street you are wrong. Reach out and touch someone's heart today, help someone to change their ways be persistent in the right way and help someone to overcome their struggles in life and remember whatever you do with a willing and just heart God will surely multiply your rewards.
  • Ghandi (09/09/2015, 08:46) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    and eye for eye will leave the whole world blind
  • O-Rap (09/09/2015, 11:09) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    WOW!!! Reading some of these comments and it is plain to see that a lot of you people are poisoned with hatred. Bigots that are no better than the KKK. "Mix breeding"? "Pure VIslanders"? Hope you never fall in love with someone not from your country and God forbid you have children with that person. Non of us are indigenous to the Caribbean (except for the few amerindians who live on selected islands) WOW!!!!!!!
  • reality (09/09/2015, 15:08) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Someone should explain to Lt. Governor Potter the meaning of 'stste of emergency' before he calls one again. Some people just position happy. SMH
  • Words Of Wisdom (09/09/2015, 17:17) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    When on St. Croix, never ever laugh when someones' marshmellow catches on fire.

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