April 27, 2004 – The owners of the Wendy's restaurant that employed Officer Cuthbert Chapman as an off-duty guard have contributed $10,000 to a fund to reward the first person to provide police information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individuals responsible for his death.
Police Commissioner Elton Lewis expressed thanks for the contribution in a release issued Tuesday evening. He said another $10,000 from the Police Department's Crime Information Fund brings the total reward to $20,000.
Lewis also said the owner of St. Croix FM radio stations Isle 95, WVPI/Mongoose and WYAC "has pledged air time for solicitation" for the reward fund.
Chapman suffered multiple gunshot wounds on the night of April 17 during a robbery attempt at the Wendy's in the Sunny Isle Shopping Center. A police spokesman said Chapman subdued a man who entered through the front door and jumped over the counter, but then two armed assailants broke in through the back entrance and fired several shots, hitting the officer. He died Monday in a Puerto Rico hospital.
Chapman "will always be remembered as a hero," Wendy's owners Richard Schierloh, Douglas Burns and Dr. Peter Kumpitch said in a release. He "was a wonderful person and highly liked by the staff and management," they said. "His swift and brave response prevented harm to many others. We will miss him very much."
The restaurant owners urged others in the community "to join in this reward effort. We must do all we can to stop this criminal activity in our islands."
Lewis said Chapman will be accorded full police honors, with funeral arrangements to be announced.
Police asked that anyone with information about the case call 778-2211, ext. 4530 or 4582 on St. Croix, 774-2211 or 715-5522 on St. Thomas, or 693-8880 on St. John. "If you feel uncomfortable calling any of the numbers listed or visiting a police facility," the police release stated, "call Commissioner Lewis direct at 774-2310 on St. Thomas or 778-2211, ext. 4500 on St. Croix."
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