St. Croix man who saved children from 2013 fire indentified as victim of last week's fatal shooting
Published: February 10, 2014
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ST. CROIX - One week after gunfire erupted in the streets of Frederiksted, claiming the life of one man, police said they are still investigating and have corrected information about the man's identity.
V.I. Police spokeswoman Melody Rames said criminal investigators are continuing to gather information as they investigate the incident where residents in the Frederiksted area reported hearing multiple gunshots around 7:37 p.m. Feb. 1. When police officers arrived on the scene, they found the body of a black man - now identified as Wellington Pennyfeather - laying in the roadway near the intersection of Market and Queen streets.
Rames said based on information provided from the responding officers, she had initially reported Pennyfeather as being 21-years-old, but on Friday, she corrected that information. Pennyfeather turned 34 last month.
She said based on prelimnary reports from people in the area who wintessed the shooting, there was an altercation between Pennyfeather and another man and the man pulled out a gun and fired several shots.
She said Pennyfeather began to run away from the area, heading south on Queen Street, when he was struck and fell to the ground.
Over the weekend, Rames said police detectives were still investigating and were following up on a number of leads given to police, but they are still asking people in the area to come forward with any information they may have to assist police in investigating the fatal shooting.
Last week's fatal shooting took place a stone's throw away from where a hail of gunfire rang out just more than a week before, but caused no physical injury to anyone.
In that incident, residents told police that they heard a large number of gunshots and saw that a man was standing in the rear of a small black truck firing the shots up the street, according to Rames.
The next morning, residents reported that projectiles damaged several buildings in the area and a woman reported that a projectile entered her apartment and damaged her refrigerator.
Pennyfeather had a significant police record, having been previously arrested on assault, firearms possession, marijuana possession, contempt of court and other charges. But he was also known for at least one selfless act that changed the life of a family: He was one of the residents whose bravery helped save the lives of six children injured after a fire errupted in their Frederiksted apartment in August.
Former St. Croix Fire Chief Angel Torres said that they were notified of the fire around 3 a.m. Aug. 17 at the Fritz Lawaetz Apartment Complex, adjacent to where last week's shooting took place and less that a quarter mile from where Pennyfeather was shot.
When firefighters arrived, Torres said they found smoke and flames coming from a second floor apartment and they were directed to six children who had been rescued from the burning apartment. Witnesses said after most of the children had been brought to safety, Pennyfeather ran into the burning apartment and rescued a 5-year-old boy who had been almost overcome by smoke inhalation. The fire was classified as accidental weeks later.
Rames said as the investigation continues anyone with information about the fatal shooting can call detectives at 712-6030, 712-6077 or call Crime Stoppers USVI at the confidential tipline at 1-800-222-8477.
- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email firstname.lastname@example.org