Suspect in St. John slaying surrenders to police
Published: August 20, 2012
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ST. THOMAS - Love City was rocked by a rare outburst of hate Friday night that ended with 31-year-old Tiny Jah Jarvis being shot dead.
Jarvis' murder was the first on St. John since the January 2009 shooting of Juan Ayala, the owner of Cap's Place in Cruz Bay, according to a search of Daily News records.
"It's unfortunate when this type of incident happens on any of the Virgin Islands, especially on St. John, where it happens so infrequently," V.I. Police spokeswoman Melody Rames said.
Ralph Titre, 23, was arrested after he turned himself in to police Saturday morning and was charged with first- and second-degree murder, first-degree assault, possession of a firearm and reckless endangerment, according to police.
V.I. Police believe Jarvis and Titre may have been arguing over their relationship with a woman about 10:30 p.m. Friday in the area of Estate Bellevue on St. John, according to Rames.
"Everything about him was beautiful," Jarvis' father Matthew Jarvis said Sunday evening. "And that guy just came and took him away."
Matthew Jarvis said his son and Titre began having problems about four months ago, when Tiny Jarvis discovered Titre had a relationship with a woman he knows. A series of verbal confrontations ensued, leading to the fatal encounter Friday near the entrance to the Bellevue Village Housing Community, according to Matthew Jarvis.
Matthew Jarvis said his son stopped as he was driving into Bellevue Village, where the woman lived. Both men got out of their cars and began arguing, and Titre threatened to shoot, according to Matthew Jarvis.
"My son said, 'Do it, do it, do it,' " Matthew Jarvis said. "And he shot him in the mouth and underneath the ribs."
Tiny Jarvis' 6-year-old son was in the car watching, according to Matthew Jarvis.
"The little boy said, 'They shoot my daddy, they shoot my daddy - blood, blood, blood,' " Matthew Jarvis said.
Emergency medical technicians responding to the call found Jarvis unresponsive on the scene with multiple gunshot wounds to his body, according to a press release from Rames. His car was nearby.
Police tried to contact Titre immediately after the shooting but were unable to locate him, Rames said. He turned himself in to a Criminal Investigations Bureau detective Saturday about 10:30 a.m., according to police.
During the investigation, police confiscated a firearm that will be tested to determine if it was used in the shooting, according to the release.
Several St. John residents expressed shock upon hearing of the killing.
"The reputation of Love City is at stake the longer people go unabated in the wantonness and recklessness of their actions," Chris Stanton, an acquaintance of Jarvis and former charter boat captain, said Sunday afternoon.
Matthew Jarvis said his son helped him run a roofing business and was a skilled mechanic, hard-working and never prone to violence. Matthew Jarvis said neither he nor his son ever owned a gun.
"What happened to people?" Matthew Jarvis said. "When I was growing up, people would fight in the street. Now guys feel like they need guns to kill people. Not me. There's too many mothers and fathers they make cry."
Matthew Jarvis, who is also a reggae musician, said he was weighing whether or not to go to Coral Bay on Sunday evening to play a gig to help raise money for his son's funeral.
"I'm trying to find a way to bury my son," Matthew Jarvis said. "I don't know what I'm going to do."
He said he now notices the quiet in the little house where his son used to live.
"It's been a couple days now, and he's not there," Matthew Jarvis said. "Silence."
Titre's bail was set at $500,000, which he was unable to post, according to police. He will be advised of his rights Monday morning in V.I. Superior Court.
- Contact Lou Mattei at 714-9124 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.