Gunfire outside D.C. Canegata Ballpark Friday evening injured one man and forced Bridges Academy graduation attendees to run for cover. A witness told the Source that graduation attendees ducked and ran after shots rang out sometime around 8:30 p.m. Shortly afterwards, the shooter came inside the ballpark’s multipurpose center building, where the graduation was being held, looked around, apparently for his intended victim, then left.
According to a person at the scene who asked not to be named, those at the graduation heard a series of shots ring out and a window was shot twice. Everyone ran for cover, there was a scuffle by the door and a man with a gun came in, looked around, then left.
Police came a few minutes later and recovered shells form a .357 magnum, according to the source. The center was filled with family members, young and old, of the graduates. One elderly woman had a serious asthma attack and another woman fainted after the attack, according to the source.
Criminal Investigation Bureau detectives have arrested 19-year-old Mario Magras and charged him with unauthorized possession of a firearm in relation to the case, according to a statement from the V.I. Police Department. Police observed Magras inside the Stop and Save grocery store across the street from the ball field acting in a suspicious manner, according to police. Magras was detained and a handgun was found in his possession. He was arrested and held on a $25,000 bail. Magras lives in Estate Catherine’s Rest.
Meanwhile, police responded to the scene of an accident in Christiansted involving a 27-year-old male victim, whose name was not released by police. The victim told police he was near the recreation center at the ball field when he heard shots being fired and was hit in the left thigh.
He said he drove away but got into an accident on Hospital Street. He was taken to the Juan F. Luis Hospital and Medical Center for treatment.
The shooting was not related to the graduation ceremony, according to V.I. Police Department Public Information Officer Melody Rames.
Police Commissioner Novelle Francis condemned the act, saying "this type of gun violence, especially in a public place where innocent lives are at risk, is to me the worst type of crime.
"While many of our young people are celebrating the culmination of years of hard work and positive achievements, there remains those few whose lack of achievement has lead them, not to a life of productivity, but to a life of destruction," he said. "I urge the witnesses to this act to contact detectives and tell what you saw and what you know. Your information just may be critical to establishing a solid case against the perpetrators of the heinous crime.”
Anyone who has any information on this case can call detectives at 712-6075, 712-6037, 712-6077, or the secure, anonymous tip line Crime Stoppers USVI at 1-800-222-TIPS.