Two men, one of whom was supposed to be on house arrest, are being treated for gunshot wounds from a pre-dawn shootout in front of Frederiksted’s Sand Bar, according to the V.I. Police Department.
The incident is the latest in a long string of public violence involving victims or perpetrators who are theoretically under arrest and active monitoring by the V.I. Justice Department.
Police were called to the scene around 3:30 a.m. at the popular nightclub on Frederiksted Beach and were told by witnesses that several men in two cars were firing shots at each other while bystanders were in the area. Forensic technicians retrieved several spent shell casings inside the nightclub and on the roadway.
Two people were injured in the shooting and treated at Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital and Medical Center. One 28-year-old man was shot in the upper left shoulder, another, age 29, was shot in the left side of his hip. Hospital officials said the two were in stable condition.
In a statement, Police Commissioner Novelle Francis Jr. said both gunshot victims have prior arrests.
“Although this does not indicate that the victims were in any way involved with the shooting and may have been simply innocent bystanders, one victim was recently released from serving a three-year jail term and is presently on five years of special parole. The second victim is presently on 24 hour house arrest and awaiting trial on charges of gun possession and possession of stolen property,” Francis said.
Investigators have advised the Department of Justice of "the obvious violations of the victim’s parole and bail conditions," according to a statement from the VIPD. In the case of the first victim, the parole board will review the case, and in regards to second victim on house arrest, the attorney general’s office can request a revocation of his bail, according to police.
This recent shooting spree is the most recent of several recent violent crimes with either the victim or perpetrator ostensibly under control of the criminal justice system after being arrested and charged with other violent crimes.
Rasenjoni Williams had been held more than a year, then placed on house arrest, then simply released to allow him to seek work while awaiting trial on first-degree murder charges when he and his pregnant 18-year-old wife, Amaria Remie Williams were gunned down in broad daylight at the beach June 18.
Shiloe Urgent, ostensibly on house arrest awaiting trial for murdering 43-year-old Stanislaus McIntosh in 2009, was shot in his shoulder and arms May 20 while riding a bicycle on the highway. According to the preliminary police investigation Urgent may have been involved in an exchange of gunfire. The assailants remain at large.
In September 2010, 30-year-old Marcus Gomez of Estate Catherine’s Rest was arrested after allegedly kidnapping a minor near her home, threatening her with a knife and raping her before taking her back home. At the time of the crime, Gomez was ostensibly under house arrest and fitted with an ankle monitor awaiting trial for the alleged rape of a different minor.
In May 2010 police on St Croix arrested a 17-year-old minor who was theoretically on house arrest in connection with a shooting that left three bystanders injured. Rakeem Hendrickson, age 18, was also arrested and charged in the shootings. Police said the minor was exchanging gunfire with another person when the injuries happened. A 12-year-old girl was shot in her shoulder, a 43 year-old woman was shot in her hip and a man in his 40s was grazed by a stray bullet in his back and arm, according to the police statement on the incident. The minor was on house arrest for a 2009 assault case where the minor is charged with shooting another person, according to police.
Police are urging anyone who has any knowledge of the Monday morning shootings in Frederiksted to call investigators at 712-6075, 712-6037 or 712-6077, or call the anonymous tip service, Crime Stoppers USVI, at 1-800-222-TIPS.