Minor shot dead in Frederiksted as police met nearby with businesses on crime prevention
Published: October 25, 2012
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ST. CROIX - As a group of residents and business owners was wrapping up a meeting Tuesday night with police brass to discuss the escalating crime situation, gunfire erupted a stone's throw away, leaving one 17-year-old boy dead and another wounded.
V.I. Police spokeswoman Melody Rames said she would not release the name of the deceased boy because he is a minor.
She confirmed that Acting Police Chief James Parris and other officers had been discussing crime prevention techniques and safety with those in attendance at Pier 69 on Tuesday night.
Steven Schwal, owner of Polly's at the Pier and Franklyn's on Strand Street, said as the group discussed their concerns with Parris, they heard two loud pops coming from the west side of the area.
"It was a town hall type meeting, but once the shooting took place, the police responded and it was basically over," he said.
Schwal said the victimization of business owners and residents in Frederiksted are so random, no one knows when they could be next. He said the armed robberies of businesses, individual robberies and burglaries take away what little business merchants have managed to collect in these tough economic times.
"It is really out of control now, and someone has to do something," he said. "We want to see more police presence on foot and mobile patrol, because this has to stop before someone else ends up dead."
Schwal said the fact that police were in the area and cars were parked across from the pier when the shooting occurred, shows the blatant lack of respect that the criminals have for police.
Rames said police are continuing to investigate the shooting, which took place about 7:30 p.m. on the western end of the pier.
Police also are investigating the possibility that the dead youth and the wounded shooting victim may be have been involved in a robbery at the time they were shot.
The 17-year-old victim was found by police unresponsive on the ground near the entrance to the pier, according to Rames. He was transported to Luis Hospital and officially was pronounced dead about 9:30 p.m. by doctors.
The second shooting victim was detained by police officers several blocks away and sought medical attention at the fire station on Queen Street before being transported to the hospital for additional treatment for a gunshot wound.
Rames said no additional information is available as the shooting remains under investigation.
On Wednesday afternoon, well after the victim's next-of-kin had been notified about the his death, Rames refused to release his identity to the public, saying that she was not sure that she was allowed to because he was a juvenile. The police have been providing that information to the public for decades, but Rames argued that she believes that the same policy that protects minors charged with crimes from being identified in the public applies to minors who are fatal victims of crimes.
Rames said she tried to verify the information with Parris, who agreed that the name could not be released.
Contacted to bring some clarity to the issue, V.I. Attorney General Vincent Frazer said he did not immediately know and as of press time did not return a call to confirm whether the victim's name could be released.
Anyone with any information about the shooting or the circumstances surrounding it can contact detectives at 712-6037, 712-6077 or call the Crime Stoppers USVI anonymous tip line at 1-800-222-8477.
- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email email@example.com.