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St. Croix Has Two Shootings, One Death

Dec. 19, 2004 – If St. Croix is ever going to shake the perception that it is crime infested, days like Saturday are going to have to quit happening. St. Croix, this year, has doubled the homicides it had in 2003. In the last five years, only 2002 had more homicides on St. Croix than this year.
Violence started early, 4 a.m., in Frederiksted on King Street.
According to police reports, officers received word of a gun being fired by an off-duty police officer, and someone may have been shot.
When officers arrived near the nightclub, the Cultural Lounge, shots were being fired from an unknown location, according to the police report.
After the shooting had ended, officers found bloodstains on the roadway and several shell casings. They learned two people were taken to the Juan F. Luis Hospital.
The officers interviewed witnesses and pieced together the following narrative.
An altercation ignited after an individual inappropriately touched a female patron in the Cultural Lounge.
The individual, identified as a black male, removed a handgun from his waistband and shot the female several times.
An off-duty correction officer at the scene, assisting with the crowd at the lounge, came to the aid of the victim and was also shot. Then, an off-duty officer arrived to give assistance, and he too fell under fire, but was not hit. The police department report does not specifically state that the off-duty police officer returned fire, but an article in the Avis did state that. The article also stated that several vehicles outside the lounge were damaged by gunshots. A police spokesperson was not available Sunday afternoon to confirm those statements.
Both victims were taken to the hospital by people at the scene. The female, in her twenties, and the male were both treated for gunshot wounds to the upper torso.
According to a press release from the police department Sunday, both victims were listed in stable condition.
At approximately 9 p.m., the same day, police received another report of shots being fired. This time it was in Estate Mount Pleasant, and a man was dead.
The victim was identified as Dixon Lewis, 28, of the Mount Pleasant area. He reportedly was shot several times.
Witnesses told the police it was a drive-by shooting. Lewis was reportedly outside his home when shots were fired at him from a passing vehicle. Witnesses told the police Lewis had tried to flee his attackers. However, shots brought him down. He was pronounced dead at 11:30 p.m. at the Juan F. Luis Hospital.
This incident is listed as a homicide by the police department, although no motive has been established. This is the 19th homicide on St. Croix compared to only nine homicides last year. This is the 35th homicide in the territory. There were 29 in the territory last year. In 2002 there were 42 homicides in the territory, 23 on St. Croix.
Elton Lewis, police commissioner, said Sunday night, "This is an unfortunate situation. We have young black men killing young black men. These men could have lived productive lives. One murder is too many."
He said he believes a big factor is the drug trade. He said when the contraband comes into the Virgin Islands, there is a lot of competition over money and deaths result.
He said his department is working closely with federal law enforcement agencies, through task forces, to keep the contraband from coming into the Virgin Islands in the first place.
The incident in Frederiksted is being treated as a first-degree assault and reckless endangerment. There were reportedly a number of people in the area where the shots were fired.
Both incidents remain under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Criminal Investigation Bureaus in St. Croix at 778-2211.

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