Three shootings that took at least one life Friday on St. Croix led to the cancelation of a planned Warm-Up J’ouvert that had been slated for Saturday morning in Christiansted.
According to the Crucian Carnival Committee, which had planned the Christiansted J’ouvert to whet the community’s appetite for Carnival season, the event was canceled due to concerns for public safety.
"Due to recent violence and in order to ensure the safety of the community, the J’ouvert has been canceled," the committee posted online. "The committee agrees that the safety of the community is paramount and urges those individuals who may be involved in violent acts to stop this destructive behavior. The entire community suffers because of the reckless actions of a few."
The decision came after the island was rocked by three separate incidents in a matter of hours. The police have given no reason to believe the incidents are related.
The bloodshed began with a homicide in Estate Whim at in front of the Georges Christian Academy Daycare Center in Estate Whim, the V.I. Police Department reported.
It was the ninth homicide on St. Croix since the beginning of the year, the 24th in the territory.
According to the police report, a man and woman had gone to the daycare center to retrieve their young child. While the woman went into the facility to retrieve the child, the man sat outside in their vehicle. An unknown male suspect drove up to the vehicle and shot him with a high-powered weapon, then fled the scene, leaving the man lifeless in the SUV.
At the request of the girlfriend, the victim’s name was not released by police pending the notification of next of kin.
That was just the start of the trouble.
According to the police, 911 dispatchers received a call at 5:16 p.m. reporting the discharge of a firearm in Estate St. George. Responding officers intercepted a vehicle heading towards the Melvin H. Evans Highway on West Airport Road, transporting an injured man to the Juan F. Luis Hospital and Medical Center for treatment of gunshot wounds to the foot and shoulder.
An additional unit and forensic team cordoned-off and processed the area of the initial incident, securing possible evidence.
The victim of the incident was unable to provide police with a description of the suspect who had shot him, and detectives with the Criminal Investigation Bureau are following the matter closely, the police said.
At 6:57 p.m. Friday neighbors in the area of D. Hamilton Jackson terrace in Christiansted reported multiple gunshots to 911.
According to the police, three vehicles drove up near the Watergut bus shanty and discharged a fusillade of gunfire into a small crowd of people gathered there.
Four individuals were transported to the Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital by ambulance with non-life threatening wounds sustained in the shooting.
Responding officers converged on the scene interviewing witnesses, while detectives and forensic technicians searched for and collected possible evidence in the wake of the shooting incident.
Neighbors reported an intense five minutes or so of multiple bursts of what sounded to them like automatic weapons fire. One neighbor reported "The streets were crawling with shady guys driving slow like they were looking for something."
The Crucian Christmas Carnival Committee’s announcement of the cancelation said an alternative date will be scheduled.