Shooting near St. Thomas school snarls rush hour traffic; man grazed by bullet makes St. Thomas rush hour traffic worse Thursday afternoon


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ST. THOMAS - A shooting outside of an elementary school shut down roads in Contant during rush hour Thursday afternoon and caused a massive police response.

Alerts issued by the V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency reported that the shooting took place at 4:50 p.m. in the area of Ulla F. Muller Elementary School in Contant.

One man, a bystander, was injured, though officers at the scene said that he had only been grazed by a bullet.

Officers did not know whether the bystander was taken to the hospital, although ambulances were parked in the area with their sirens on. They left with their sirens off and did not appear to have any patients.

V.I. Police spokeswoman Melody Rames reported that authorities arrested a man in connection with the shooting, which took place just outside the fence line of Muller Elementary School. The man was seen running from the scene and was apprehended shortly thereafter, Rames said.

Rames was unable to provide the name of the suspect, whether he was facing any charges or in which jurisdiction - federal or local - the man was being charged. Discharging a firearm within a school zone is a federal offense.

According to the police blotter, a record of calls to emergency dispatchers detailing the nature of a 911 call and the time it was made, a report of an assault in Contant came in at 4:43 p.m.

That call was followed by a call of a person shot at 4:50 p.m.

As law enforcement officials converged on the scene Thursday afternoon, police rerouted traffic in Contant, blocking off vehicles and pedestrians from Banco Popular to the elementary school near the intersection of Contant Road and Veterans Drive in Sub Base, according to the VITEMA alerts.

Traffic was backed up for more than an hour in the area. Though pedestrians also were supposed to be cleared from the streets, many people were out on Contant Road, curious as to what was taking place inside the crime scene perimeter.

Few witnesses along the road saw anything, though some reported hearing shots fired.

In front of the elementary school, which had discharged students only a couple hours earlier, V.I. police officers and marshals parked their cars in the nearby area and taped off the scene.

As the scene at Muller School was unfolding, police also were responding to two other crime scenes, according to the police blotter.

Only a half-hour after the shooting near the school, police also had to respond to a robbery at Market Square.

About the same time, police on St. John were responding to a robbery at Pine Peace Supermarket.

Rames said that police could not provide further information about either of the reported robberies at press time Thursday.

- Contact Jenny Kane at 714-9102 or email jkane@dailynews.vi.

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