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Violence Halts Carnival

April 30, 2009 — They say you can't stop the Carnival. But they did.
St. Thomas thugs managed to spoil the fun for thousands of partygoers at Thursday's annual J'ouvert celebration along the waterfront with blatant daylight violence. By 9:30 a.m., two stabbings and a shooting on the parade route were enough to make Police Commissioner James McCall stop the music.
"After the second incident, I called off J'ouvert," McCall told the Source early Thursday.
Sam Topp, popular radio talk show host and spokesman for Roy L. Schneider Hospital, said a 14-year old boy was stabbed in the abdomen and was in serious condition awaiting surgery at 10:30 a.m. Another 19-year-old male was shot clean through the thigh in a separate incident, Topp said.
"That's not to say we're not going to have more come through these doors," Topp warned.
McCall said the 14-year-old victim had been under house arrest.
Dozens of people waited outside the emergency room for word on their condition.
As of 11 a.m., the victim in the third incident, a stabbing, had not been admitted to the hospital and remained at large, as were all of the suspects.
V.I. police at all levels, federal agents, National Guardsmen, police cadets and volunteers saturated the entire parade route but still the thugs had their way.
"We have suspects," commissioner McCall said, but none had been apprehended by noon.
'It done! J'ouvert done!" yelled one woman when the second ambulance in an hour weaved through the crowd with sirens blaring and lights flashing at around 9 a.m. Police silenced the bands several times while police and emergency services worked to help the wounded and restore calm.
Some in the crowd blamed the police, not the criminals.
"Why mess up my Carnival because someone mess up?" yelled Arthurtyn Mitcham, who, in a green afro wig and glimmering Carnival beads, shouted his complaints on the waterfront. "You don't stop J'ouvert!"
Mitcham, who said he's been attending carnival since the 70s, said he believes the youth have lost their way.
"Everybody just trying to push their chest up," he said. "Just have fun, man. But people ruin it with their shootin' and stabbin'.
"I love to play and have a great time," said Angie White, who was hosting several friends from the mainland for Carnival.
"It's their first time," she said of her friends when the music suddenly stopped at 9:30 a.m. She sat down and shook her head. "This is really bad."
"Too many people are hurt already," said Jai Campbell, White's friend.
Police and hospital officials said they would update the Source throughout the day.

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