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Police: Suspect in Berrios Shooting Is a Retired Officer

The man police believe shot to death Jose Edgardo Rivera Berrios, 43, in downtown Christiansted on Sept. 26, is a retired police officer, the V.I. Police Department confirmed Friday night.

"The alleged shooter is a retired police officer," said Public Information Officer Melody Rames in answer to questions from the Source. "He is no longer associated with the police through any current employment or volunteerism."

The name of the suspect was not released.

The few facts released to the public at the time of the shooting sparked a week of rumor and speculation. According to the initial police report, officers were notified of the shooting about 10:15 p.m. Sept. 26 when calls to the emergency dispatch center reported a man was holding another man at gunpoint and asking people in the area to call 911. Before units could arrive at the location, a caller told 911 that at least one shot had been fired.

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When officers arrived they found Berrios lying on the ground. Emergency medical technicians on the scene said the victim was unresponsive. He was taken to the Juan F. Luis Memorial Hospital and pronounced dead by medical staff.

The report then said the suspected shooter cooperated with police, voluntarily surrendering his licensed firearm on the scene. No arrest was made at the time of the shooting and there has been no report since that the man has been arrested.

Friday Rames again declined to discuss details of the incident, explaining that the case is still under investigation.

"Detectives are still investigating the case, interviewing witnesses and evaluating evidence," she said.

Earlier in the week she had said, "I’m not going to try this in the media."

When asked why the alleged shooter had not been taken into custody, Rames said a number of factors go into the decision, but it is not unheard of.

"The officers at the scene as well as the detectives who investigated the case determined that the case needed to have a prosecutorial opinion from the attorney general. Once the AG opinion is rendered, they may or may not order an arrest. This is not the first time a case has gone this way, so this case is not setting a precedent. There have been dozens of cases over the years in the territory where a known shooter was not immediately arrested."

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