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UPDATE: Hernandez had no gun, but knife- Senior Police & NSC sources

The now deceased fugitive Santo Yamarco Hernandez was allegedly not in possession of a gun but rather a knife when he was shot by police on December 6, 2017, according to multiple senior police sources, as well as information obtained from the National Security Council (NSC). Photo: Facebook
According to Commissioner of Police (CoP) Michael B. Mathews, his officers ‘were confronted with a violent escaped prisoner from HMP…during the confrontation a police officer shot and wounded the suspect who is now under police guard at Peebles Hospital.’ Photo: VINO/File
According to Commissioner of Police (CoP) Michael B. Mathews, his officers ‘were confronted with a violent escaped prisoner from HMP…during the confrontation a police officer shot and wounded the suspect who is now under police guard at Peebles Hospital.’ Photo: VINO/File
Fugitive Santo Yamarco Hernandez was reportedly brandishing a firearm when he was shot today, December 6, 2017 in Butu Mountain, Tortola, according to reports reaching this news site. Photo: Facebook
Fugitive Santo Yamarco Hernandez was reportedly brandishing a firearm when he was shot today, December 6, 2017 in Butu Mountain, Tortola, according to reports reaching this news site. Photo: Facebook
Mr Santo Yamarco Hernandez remains a patient under police guard at Peebles Hospital. Photo: Facebook
Mr Santo Yamarco Hernandez remains a patient under police guard at Peebles Hospital. Photo: Facebook
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- Our police sources have retracted the previous information given to our newsroom on the escaped prisoner, Santo Yamarco Hernandez, alleging that he had a gun after he was shot by police on December 6, 2017.

Our newsroom can now confirm from multiple senior police sources, as well as information obtained from the National Security Council (NSC), that Mr Hernandez did not have a gun in his possession at the time he was shot by police.

In fact, he had a knife. This was also confirmed by family members. The type or size of the knife is unknown at this time. Police Commissioner Michael B. Mathews had told our newsroom that “armed officers were confronted with a violent escaped prisoner from HMP….during the confrontation a police officer shot and wounded the suspect.”

Mr Mathews, who is now on vacation, stopped short of saying what made the escaped prisoner “violent” and dodged the Hernandez gun possession question earlier this week when pressed by our newsroom, as he said he did not want any public statement to compromise the investigation.

Two shots pumped in Hernandez by police

Our other sources told our newsroom that Mr Hernandez was shot two times by police, in the upper abdomen and left leg. When the now deceased prisoner was caught it was in an abandoned house in the Butu Mountain area of Tortola and Mr Hernandez was reportedly well kept and had food in the house.

Mr Hernandez, who had only a knife at the time of his shooting, was described by the CoP as posing a risk to “officers and the public safety.” Furthermore, Mr Mathews told our newsroom in an exclusive interview that “safety is always the overriding factor in any decision to deploy our armed assets.”

Police top cop Mathews announced that he has requested investigative support from the Turks and Caicos Islands Police to ensure an “independent and impartial investigation” into the shooting of the civilian by police.

Cover up?

However, a check today December 9, 2017 confirmed that no one has arrived on Tortola as yet to conduct the investigation, but a small team is expected to arrive by next week.

“There is no attempt to cover-up anything,” said a high ranking male police Inspector, speaking to us moments ago on condition of anonymity.

Mr Hernandez died on December 7, 2017 at Peebles Hospital following the shooting which was done by police from the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force, and not any of the visiting overseas officers.

The dead man was accused of the murder of Alston E. Penn of East End and was waiting to face trial.

The Dominican Republic national was one of three prisoners on the run following the prison break after Hurricane Irma had compromised Her Mastery’s Prison at Balsam Ghut. The Category 5 Hurricane inflicted havoc on the Territory on September 6, 2017.

See previous article published December 6, 2017

Shot prisoner was armed with a gun- Senior police source

More details are emerging in relation to the confrontation between officers of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) and prisoner on the run for some three months, Santo Yamarco Hernandez.

Mr Hernandez was among some 143 prisoners that escaped from Her Majesty’s Prison at Balsam Ghut after Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc on the facility, destroying major portions of its roof and fence.

All the prisoners were recaptured or turned themselves in except three, including Dominican Republic national Mr Hernandez who is accused but not convicted of the murder of Alston E. Penn, who was found in a pool of blood early this year at Windy Hill, Tortola.

Police confirmed our newsroom's story about the shooting early this morning in Butu Mountain, on the main island of Tortola. Now as more details are unearthed, it turns out that the fugitive was armed with a gun and was deemed a threat to police officers.

He was violent- CoP Mathews

Speaking earlier today December 6, 2017 from Miami Florida, USA where he is attending a police conference, Commissioner of Police (CoP) Michael B. Mathews told our newsroom in an exclusive interview that his officers “were confronted with a violent escaped prisoner from HMP…during the confrontation a police officer shot and wounded the suspect who is now under police guard at Peebles Hospital.”

The Commissioner declined to give details on how many shots were fired, the type of gun used or why the officers did not 'shoot to kill', if it was a violent confrontation as he described it.

He also stopped short of stating whether Hernandez had a gun or any other weapon; however, a senior police source disclosed to our newsroom that the fugitive was in possesion of a firearm.

Mr Mathews stated, “it is always regrettable when the force has to use an armed response- it is sometimes necessary for the safety of the public and the officer in the situation”. The popular Commissioner said, “safety is always the overriding factor in any decision to deploy our armed assets.”

Use of Firearm by police to be investigated independent of RVIPF

In a welcomed move in keeping with transparency and policing best practice, Mr Mathews also told our newsroom that he has requested assistance from the Commissioner of Police of the Turks and Caicos Islands to provide investigative support on the use of arms by his officers.

The CoP said this is to ensure an independent and impartial investigation is conducted into this shooting.  While he said an investigation after police have used their weapons is normal, he wanted to ensure, “impartiality and transparency.”

The top cop confirmed that the firearm was discharged by an officer from the local constabulary and not one of the visiting police officers. Mr Matthews; however, stopped short of revealing any more information as to the name of the officer, type of gun used by the police to shot Hernandez, the type of gun the suspect was allegedly in possession of and when the investigation will commence.

It also remains unclear why, if Mr Hernandez was armed, the police did not ‘shoot to kill’ as the situation could have resulted in the death of police officers. There is also conflicting information whether the other two prisoners on the run- Jose Almestica and Kareem Hodge- are armed and dangerous. Minister for Education and Culture Hon Myron V. Walwyn (AL), who shares responsibility for Prison Services, told the public during a press conference on September 22, 2017 that the prisoners at large were “low-risk prisoners and I take this opportunity again to ask them to turn themselves in,” Hon Walwyn had stated.

40 Responses to “UPDATE: Hernandez had no gun, but knife- Senior Police & NSC sources”

  • Finally (06/12/2017, 21:42) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
    Glad he didn't die so he can go back up and face his punishment. PUNISHMENT from every angle.. Good JoB RVIPF.
  • ok (06/12/2017, 21:46) Like (12) Dislike (3) Reply
    Low risk prisoners huh??
  • DON Q (06/12/2017, 23:01) Like (0) Dislike (6) Reply
    More in the mota
  • snitch (06/12/2017, 23:42) Like (35) Dislike (2) Reply
    Santo is responsible for a lot of unsolved. How you think he was making his money. I bet a lot of people is scared that he is going to drop their names. Police, you all better keep Santo in leg irons and hand shackles 24/7 he is a very dangerous person. Yes Waterboard his behind until he talks or put his behind in a walk in meat freezer naked until he talks.
    • Please give information to the police (07/12/2017, 07:45) Like (11) Dislike (1) Reply
      If you know anything you are as bad as the criminals by letting them get away heinous crimes you could resolve.

      An 11 year old girl is dead, is this at all related?
  • wize up (07/12/2017, 04:49) Like (25) Dislike (0) Reply
    BVI Police nice because in other jurisdictions homeboy would bite the dust(history):
    • True (07/12/2017, 07:33) Like (22) Dislike (1) Reply
      But the BVI. Cops did not let him bit the dust for a reason. This guy knows a lot about other cases and have answers the cops is looking for. He is a paid Hit man. But that is what happens when you allow all kind of trash into your Country.
      • wize up (11/12/2017, 04:27) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
        @ true: we have them here living among us: poor leadership will make anything go bad: can you recall when this place was peaceful now every thing gone wild: check out our current leadership they are more focus on cruise ship passengers than the growing number of murders in the place
  • ??? (07/12/2017, 06:59) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    Nothing regrettable about using force in a case like this. I also hope that some "work" can be done on him up at the Prison.
  • 8th district gyal (07/12/2017, 07:09) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    Seems like a troubled young man who did alot of bad things to a whole lot of people in order to maintain a lifestyle. Than you police for not taking his life. He has alot of questions to answer. Answers which cannot bring person or persons back but at least help bring closure to grieving hearts.
  • just do it (07/12/2017, 07:44) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    Take him to the pier, tie a bungee cord around his ankles and keep dunking him in the water until he talk or take a pair of pliers and start ripping out fingernails one by one.
  • Hmm (07/12/2017, 08:26) Like (17) Dislike (2) Reply
    But who was harbouring him tho
  • Ms wize (07/12/2017, 09:21) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    A paid hit Nan? Hmmmm. For a man without a job he was really dressing well. He wore the best of the best. Lord help us all
  • observant (07/12/2017, 13:03) Like (2) Dislike (2) Reply
    The Commissioner was quick to mention that he will investigate the police shooting and killing of this terrorist. I ask myself now that the reason why the RVIPF officers rarely discharge their weapons, especially when there's a need, if they work under a dark cloud of fear in fulfilling their duties. Mr Matthews has not in my opinion hastened to hunt down nor investigate matters involving these criminal elements
    with the intensity of a maelstrom. Now he has to appease his "handlers" as he's a "company man" so he suddenly knows about investigations. By now the other escaped prisoners,the scooter shooters, other terrorists and last but not least corrupted politicians would've been brought to justice had he been zealous at his job. Mr Michael B. Matthews a piece of free advice,do the duty that are being paid to do with aplomb please and stop being a puppet. Note,I won't plead of you patriotism,because you seem to have no zealous loyalty to anything of substance.
  • weed (09/12/2017, 14:01) Like (4) Dislike (6) Reply
    cover up...hummmm thing to talk
  • question (09/12/2017, 14:25) Like (2) Dislike (9) Reply
    Does this count to statistics as a homicide or no? I'm just curious because people rarely document murder cough* I mean killings by police in the statistics.
  • Wendy (09/12/2017, 14:49) Like (33) Dislike (1) Reply
    Family members confirmed he had a knife? Well then, they can confirm a whole lot more.. like who was supplying his food clothing and shelter while on the run. Family members passports should be seized and arrested as suspected coconspirators of murder and harbouring a fugitive.
  • rattie (09/12/2017, 15:24) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
    More in the morta
  • wize up (09/12/2017, 15:28) Like (23) Dislike (0) Reply
    this man come to this country and suspected of murder then escapes lawful custody but police should greet him with a kiss and red roses: I say one less headache(in other jurisdictions the chap would not have even made it alive to a medical facility.....shot only twice!!! a fugitive on the run for murder aligations(RVIP is a group of good guys)......
  • wow (09/12/2017, 16:57) Like (3) Dislike (13) Reply
    I can understand that yes the family wanted justice but when you read the blogs you would have thought this man was an animal a rabid animal that needed to be hunted down by hunters at any cost ,but this man was not convicted and he could not have been proven guilty until that process was taken place .we as a do call Christian socoiety should be ashamed of our selves the way in which we degraded those people from the Dominican Republic because one of the Nationals of that country was alleged to have committed the murder of a native of the soil but one should not forget in the days before when our people went to the same Dominican Republic to cut cane to help to develope this little Tortola not only that the amount of children the men of this country left down there in macorise but one day we as a people of this little island have no choice but to be thankful to the same people who will have to come to our rescue once again history has s funny way of repeating its self 1924 gale -2017 Irma did we as a people learn snything.
  • "just a knife" ??? (09/12/2017, 20:17) Like (16) Dislike (1) Reply
    Why does the news site refer to the knife as "just a knife". Are they trying to down play the kind of damage that weapon can do or make it appear that the officers used excessive force?
    A knife is RIGHTFULY considered a DEADLY weapon by law and the officer has a right to use force adequate enough to stop someone threatening them or anyone else with a knife. Sooo..... since police are not trained to use knives and pepper spray and tasers are no match for someone with a knife the man had to be shot.

    Sorry it turned out to be fatal but that's the price you pay for your actions.
  • brent (09/12/2017, 20:41) Like (24) Dislike (1) Reply
    @wow. Yes years ago we went everywhere to make a living, but we did not go murdering, having guns, drugs etc that we took to other countries like the ILK that have now invaded our islands. This breed are hard out and out criminals. This bad boy got just what he deserved. Court my ass, so he can get away with so much more dirt that he was already involved in? No,,let him NOT rip. His family knew him well and who do you think was harboring him. Justice served. I support the RVIPF.
  • True (09/12/2017, 22:53) Like (16) Dislike (3) Reply
    job well done RVIPF next!
  • Award (09/12/2017, 23:39) Like (17) Dislike (3) Reply
    What’s to investigate ???? Whether guilty or innocent he was a high risk prisoner deemed armed and dangerous he could of given up himself but he choose not too the police did their jobs before we commend the officers just d other day we all felt uneasy and unsafe especially with the recent double murder now they get one off d streets you all complaining bout he prob innocent he should of took out you or your family before the cops had gotten him .. now can those officers get an award for bringing some relief to our territory nice example set lets see who else on the run wants to continue running
  • saying (09/12/2017, 23:56) Like (7) Dislike (15) Reply
    Them aint got no call to kill the man.
    • Hmm (10/12/2017, 08:05) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
      If dem had want kill he um sure dem woulda shoot to kill he ass in the first place... think!!
  • Eagle Eye (10/12/2017, 00:45) Like (0) Dislike (12) Reply
    Say which cop did the killing. Yall short changing we.
  • For the Police (10/12/2017, 09:02) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    The police did what they had to do. If he had a tree branch, it is considered a weapon. And Eagle eye, you just want them to name the cop to be nosey.
  • mmario (10/12/2017, 13:57) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    Trash he was indeed but who are the biggest trash? those that let him in....If i was to lead the investigation I would start to investigate the immigration and labor department down to his sponsor/employer.
    • ------ (10/12/2017, 20:13) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      Well said. mmario well said.
    • barbie (11/12/2017, 10:00) Like (0) Dislike (4) Reply
      Don't fully blame the Immigration Department, most of them are here under the pretense on being citizens born to Virgin Islanders who went to work in Santo Domingo.
  • observant (10/12/2017, 14:22) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    If the RVIPF didn't deal with him, people would call them incompetent. They caught and dealt with him, it's a problem. Why is there always a haste to "investigate" good deeds but there's a delay to deal with criminals. If he were righteous as his family claims, why didn't he surrender after the storm passed. People stop covering up the wrongs of others because if someone is on revenge and they believe that you're involved in their loved ones demise,it might not be nice for you. It seems that he was a pest that was swatted away. A life is precious but he didn't seem to care, so let it be. Well done RVIPF!
  • hmmmmmm (11/12/2017, 06:58) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Ok he had no gun but a knife and the point is? He came at them. Maybe the Officer should have waited to aim at his leg or tell him to stop or ask the director to shout cut while he got his taser. I just hope you all dont turn chupid, not stupid, chupid and chastise the officer for doing his job.
  • Mr Shovels (11/12/2017, 11:14) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    "..only a knife"? Do people not realize a knife is just as deadly as a gun?
  • mmario (11/12/2017, 12:22) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    To Barbie. It's an undeniable fact that a good number of them are citizens or Belongers that's no excuse for not doing due diligence and proper screening. So the excuse is rubbish just rubbish. I was born in DR most of my family from BVI and been in Tola so I can tell you how each department work. If you know who or your last name is what then you pass. In Santo's case,Hernandez doesn't sound like a BVI name. But then again BVI men love a DR woman not sure why.so it should not come to you as a surprise that Hernandez may have been a Belonger/Citizen of some kind. Such a small island with two people in it and can't monitor who is doing what.
  • dude (11/12/2017, 14:07) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    when police say don't move. Don't move.
  • Message (14/12/2017, 13:24) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Clear message sent by local Police . We are not playing with criminals


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