Man killed in daytime shooting in Estate Richmond


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ST. CROIX - Dozens of V.I. Police vehicles raced across the island just after 1 p.m. Wednesday, moments after residents reported that shots had been fired in the Estate Richmond residential area and at least one person had been injured.

The shooting resulted in the death of one man, and police are investigating and hope to get information from the community to help them identify anyone who may have been involved in the crime, according to V.I. Police spokeswoman Melody Rames.

Rames declined to identify the fatally wounded man on Wednesday, but family and friends have identified him as Vernon "Buckey" James Jr. of Estate Mount Pleasant.

Rames said police were notified of the shooting by 911 Emergency Dispatch minutes after 1 p.m. When officers arrived on the scene, in the area between the D. Hamilton Jackson housing community and the abandoned Ralph de Chabert housing community, they found the unresponsive body of a man who had been shot at least once.

Residents in the immediate area and the surrounding neighborhoods quickly gathered on the scene after hearing the gunshots and as news of the shooting spread across the community. Some residents said they heard two gunshots ring out, which is not very unusual for the area, but unusual for the time of day.

Officers used police vehicles to block all access roads into the crime scene area and controlled the crowd in the immediate area with the use of police tape and additional officers.

Rames said the department's special response teams canvassed the area, including abandoned apartments near where the body was found.

Dressed in full tactical gear and armed with high-powered weapons, officers could be seen walking around the neighboring properties and streets.

They searched the area in hopes of finding suspects, but the searches were determined unsuccessful, Rames said.

Emergency medical technicians arriving at the scene could not detect any vital signs and left. The coroner's van then arrived shortly after and was parked on the street, where James' lifeless body lay on the ground nearby, covered in a sheet for more than two hours as detectives scoured the area.

Rames said police are asking for the community's assistance to solve the crime.

Anyone with information can contact detectives at 712-6077, 712-6037 or 911 or call the confidential tip line at Crime Stoppers USVI at 1-800-222-8477.

Wednesday's murder was the sixth reported on St. Croix this year and the 10th in the territory, including two vehicular homicides. So far for 2014 there have been three homicides on St. Thomas and one on St. John.

- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email fstokes@dailynews.vi.

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