All St. Croix police respond to scene of huge brawl

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ST. CROIX — All available police units were sent to Candido Guadalupe housing community Tuesday night in response to a fight between crowds from two housing communities, police said.

About 40 people gathered for the outdoor fray in Candido Guadalupe’s main parking lot around 8:30 p.m., with close to 10 individuals involved in the actual fighting, said St. Croix Deputy Police Chief Christopher Howell.

“It was an all-out brawl,” Howell said.

In the midst of the havoc, police officers apprehended just one person — a minor who turned around and punched a police officer, Howell said.

“In a situation like that, it’s very difficult when you have a large crowd of people to disperse the fighting and apprehend the people involved in the act, because they can disappear into the crowd too easily,” Howell said.

The ruckus originated at Aureo Diaz Heights housing community when a man’s chain was stolen by some armed men from Candido Guadalupe, Howell said. The man rounded up a group from Aureo Diaz to reclaim the chain or cause havoc in the nearby housing community.

Then a free-for-all began, Howell said.

The first of a number of calls came in to 911 at 8:28 p.m., and officers soon arrived on the scene — only to realize they would need more officers to stop the brawl, Howell said.

Howell described Candido Guadalupe as “a hostile environment” that is poorly lit at night and where the residents tend to be aggressive with officers.

“It’s an area where a simple thing can escalate easily,” he said.

Back-up assistance was called for twice before Central Dispatch put out the call for all available units to respond.

“There were actually units from Christiansted that responded,” Howell said. “I’ve only seen that happen a couple of times in my career.”

Officers used pepper spray to disperse the crowd, but a change in the wind caused a number of officers to feel the effects, as well, Howell said.

While there were reports of weapons in the area, officers did not find any, and there were no major injuries reported, Howell said.

During the fighting, another chain was stolen, Howell said.


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