Judge increases bail for three men facing charges in Festival Village shooting
Published: January 3, 2013
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ST. CROIX - Three men who police believe are among those responsible for the New Year's Day shootout in the Festival Village that injured two people and sent dozens running for cover, appeared in V.I. Superior Court on Wednesday morning to be advised of their rights.
Julian Vera Jr., 20, of Estate Strawberry, Adrian Gerard, 23, of JFK housing community, and Adowa Fleming, 20, of Estate Catherine's Rest, all appeared before Magistrate Judge Miguel Camacho, each was advised of his rights on charges of third-degree assault, unauthorized possession of a firearm, first-degree reckless endangerment, carrying or using a dangerous weapon, failure to report a firearm brought into the territory and possession of ammunition.
The charges stem from the incident just two hours into the New Year on Tuesday. Police said Gerard was involved in a confrontation with another group of men when the gunfire erupted.
According to the police report filed by V.I. Police Detective Cureene Smith, officers were notified that a red car and a white sport utility vehicle had left the area of the Festival Village in Estate La Grange at a high rate of speed heading north.
Officers spotted the red car and gave chase, trying to stop the vehicle on Melvin Evans Highway near the Container Port intersection, Smith said. The car did not stop and sideswiped a police unit and headed east, according to Smith.
Officers saw objects - which later were identified as two handguns - being thrown from the vehicle, and spent shell casings gathered at the Festival Village matched the guns found on the highway, according to Smith.
Police managed to stop the car on the highway near Home Depot, Smith said. Gerard and Fleming were transported to the Rainbow Building, where they were booked, Smith said. Vera waited at the scene for an ambulance, after police realized that he had been shot once in the groin and once in the foot, Smith said.
A pancake holster was found in the waist of Vera's pants, and while he was waiting on the ground for an ambulance to arrive, he said that the men were lucky that his gun fell in the Village, because he would have shot up everyone who was there and he did not care who got hit, according to Smith.
Officers also found a Glock 40 ammunition magazine and another holster inside the car, Smith said.
Smith said Fleming told police that he was in the Village with a friend when he heard the shots ring out. Fleming said Vera, who is Fleming's cousin, ran up to him and told him that he had been shot and gave Fleming car keys and asked him to take him to the hospital, according to Smith.
When Fleming went to the car, Gerard also jumped in, Smith said. Fleming told police that when they were being chased by police, Vera told him to go straight to the police station because Vera felt that he was going to die, according to Smith.
When Vera was released from the hospital later that day, he told police that he had a gun; however, he said that the gun he had was a 9 mm chrome Smith and Wesson and he dropped it in the Village after he got shot, according to Smith. No gun was found in the Village, according to Smith.
A woman who was at the Village also was shot and was treated at Luis Hospital for a gunshot wound to her ankle and released, and a number of vehicles in the area were damaged by gunfire, according to police.
During Wednesday's advice-of-rights hearing, Assistant Public Defender Yolan Brow Ross asked the court to release the men to third-party custodians on an unsecured bond. She also proposed that they be held on 24-hour house arrest.
Assistant Attorney General Melissa Ortiz objected, saying that the bail for the men should be increased from $25,000 each to $75,000 each because of the serious nature of the crimes. She said the men also should be made to post at least 10 percent of the bail before they could be released.
Ortiz said that Gerard had multiple arrests and had one conviction for an armed robbery. She said he had been incarcerated and had just completed his period of probation this summer.
Camacho said that the men should be considered a danger to the community. He increased the bail to $50,000 for each man and ordered that no less than 10 percent of the bail must be posted for them to secure their release.
- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email email@example.com.