Police elaborate on home invasion

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ST. CROIX - Police have shed some light on the details surrounding an early morning home invasion that left two of the gunmen dead and another gunman, an officer and police dog wounded on Friday.

According to police, emergency dispatchers received a call about 2 a.m. from a woman who reported that three suspects were in her home demanding money from a man who also lives at the house.

Juvenile Investigation Officer Theodore Willocks was shot in the back and leg and has been transferred to an off-island medical facility where he is receiving additional treatment, Acting St. Croix Police Chief James Parris said in a statement issued Tuesday.

K-9 Police Officer Luka was injured and was treated after he received several blows to his head with a handgun wielded by the 15-year-old boy who tried to flee, according to Parris.

It is a matter of public policy in the territory that the name of youths charged with crimes cannot be made public until a determination is made about whether they will be charged as adults.

The boy received gunshot wounds to both legs in addition to bites sustained as he was apprehended by the dog, Parris said.

Parris said Tuesday that the three suspects were heavily armed and seemed to be determined not to be captured.

Edwin Carmona, 30, and Franklyn Johnson Jr., 20, were killed when they were shot multiple times by police during the exchange of gunfire.

Parris said officers confiscated seven illegal weapons, which included high-powered automatic weapons.

Items that were stolen from the home included jewelry and cell phones and have since been returned to the owners, who were not physically injured during the home invasion.

The boy was taken into the custody of the Youth Rehabilitation Center and appeared before Family Court Judge Patricia Steele on Monday morning and was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, attempted murder, unauthorized possession of a firearm, kidnapping, possession of an unlicensed firearm during the commission of a violent crime, third-degree assault, first-degree assault and first-degree burglary in connection with a home invasion.

After making the initial call to 911 on Friday, the woman left the call connected so that emergency dispatchers could hear what was going on in the house and relay the information to responding officers.

V.I. Police spokeswoman Melody Rames said Friday afternoon that police converged on the scene and lay in wait outside the house for the suspects from minutes after the initial call came in at 2:04 a.m. until just before gunfire erupted and a call was made about the gunshots to emergency dispatchers at 3:11 a.m.

Rames said once the suspects emerged from the home, they realized that they were surrounded by the officers, who ordered them to drop their weapons and get on the ground.

Instead, they opened fire and police shot back.

On Tuesday, Parris commended the woman who had the presence of mind to call 911 and leave the call open and commended the 911 staff for their professionalism under stressful circumstances.

He said some of the officers had already worked a full shift but responded to the scene to render assistance.

"The police officers displayed exemplary bravery and courage. Many of the officers were just getting off shift but did not hesitate to place themselves at the front line directly in the face of danger. The community should be proud. I know I am," he said.

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

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