Two men killed in separate incidents on St. Thomas
Published: January 22, 2013
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ST. THOMAS - After a quiet start to 2013, the territory saw its first homicides of the new year last weekend - both within a period of 24 hours on St. Thomas.
Police discovered the first victim, Lucas Reid Jr., 24, about 10:15 a.m. Sunday in the area known as Jah Yard in Hospital Ground, according to a statement issued Monday by the V.I. Police Department. Police still are seeking a person of interest in the case.
Officers discovered Reid's body in the driver's seat of his Honda Civic after it ran into a wall near the Moravian cemetery. Reid had been shot several times, and a number of bullet holes were found in the vehicle, police said.
Less than 12 hours later, shortly after 8 p.m., a second homicide victim, identified as 41-year-old Sunny Rodriguez, was located on Garden Street, according to police.
Police found Rodriguez's body behind the Adult Education building while they were investigating a call of shots fired in the Garden Street area. The victim had multiple gunshot wounds to his body and was pronounced dead at the scene by medical personnel.
Police said Rodriguez was involved in a physical altercation with another man on Commandant Gade and was chased behind the building by at least two persons.
Acting on a confidential tip received by detectives, police later arrested 22-year-old Giraldy Jean-Simon and charged him with the murder of Rodriguez.
Jean-Simon was located at the Edward Wilmoth Blyden Marine Terminal, where he had purchased a ticket. Jean-Simon was aboard the 8:45 a.m. ferry bound for the British Virgin Islands when he was taken into custody by Major Crime and Intelligence Unit detectives, police said.
Jean-Simon was charged with first-degree murder, first-degree assault, third-degree assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence, according to police. He was denied bail and placed into the custody of the Bureau of Corrections pending an advice of rights hearing.
In a press release, St. Thomas-St. John Police Chief Darren Foy thanked the members of the Major Crime and Intelligence Units for their swift action taking the suspect into custody when he was attempting to flee the jurisdiction.
Foy added that too many young people are losing their lives to gun violence and said the community must find ways to curb the problem.
"Find another way to settle disputes," Foy said. "If you are involved in a situation that begins to get out of hand, get out of the area, go somewhere else. And if a shooting occurs, continue to tell police what you know so the perpetrator can be arrested."
Anyone with information about the St. Thomas homicides can contact detectives at 715-5522 or 715-5516, or information can be submitted to the Crime Stoppers anonymous tip line at 1-800-222-8477.
- Contact reporter Lou Mattei at 714-9124 or email email@example.com.