St. Croix Police Chief Christopher Howell and Police Officer Elsworth Jones were injured by gunfire Saturday night while pursuing suspects in an armed robbery of a Cane Bay restaurant, according to a statement from Government House.
Officials say Howell and Jones had established a roadblock near the Mon Bijou community when they encountered suspects fitting the description of those that had minutes before held up the Eat at Cane Bay restaurant.
According to Government House, police authorities confirmed both Howell and Jones were injured by gunfire and transported to Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital, where they were treated for what was described as “non-life-threatening injuries.” Howell and Jones were in stable condition late Saturday night.
The suspects were described as black men wearing dark-colored clothing.
Residents in the area told police some seven to ten shots were fired at the two officers. Lt. Gov. Gregory Francis and Police Commissioner Henry White met with the injured officers at Luis Hospital Saturday night.
Government House says Gov. John deJongh Jr. was regularly updated on the condition of the two injured officers and the effort that continued late Saturday night to apprehend the suspects wanted in the robbery and subsequent shooting.
“I express my deep appreciation to both Chief Howell and Officer Jones for the work they and so many VIPD officers do on the front lines every day," deJongh said. "It is clearly unfortunate when officers, on the front line of defending our community, become victims. This pattern of attack against those who have sworn to uphold law and order in our community is not acceptable by me or by our community.”