VIPD officer shoots, kills man just outside Carnival Village


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ST. THOMAS - A V.I. Police officer shot and killed a man early Saturday morning just outside the Carnival Village, which had officially opened only hours earlier.

Police are not yet releasing the identity of the victim or the identity of the officer.

"We are conducting an internal investigation," St. Thomas-St. John Police Chief Darren Foy said.

Police reported hearing shots fired about 12:15 a.m. Saturday in front of Fort Christian, just yards away from the Carnival Children's Village.

Police then reported a "man down" minutes later.

Two ambulances arrived immediately thereafter.

Witnesses gathered around a perimeter of yellow "Crime Scene" tape stretched around the lawn in front of Fort Christian in the hour that followed.

The perimeter of the crime scene was just outside the Children's Village, where several Carnival rides ceased to operate just after the shooting. The music on the village stage continued, and the food booths remained open in the main village.

"We're trying to make this as safe a Carnival as we can," Foy said.

Police in recent weeks have been stressing their hope to have a safe Carnival, asking the public to help them in preventing violence during the monthlong celebration.

The police department increased the presence of officers near Fort Christian to better monitor what in past years has been a "problem area," according to V.I. Police Commissioner Rodney Querrard Sr. Additionally, the police ensured that the area was well lit.

The lights were just bright enough that witnesses were able to make out the profile of the body of the young man on the steps of the fort. His white tennis shoes and dark clothes could be made out, along with the profile of his face looking up.

Several young men sat on the grass, some of them with tears in their eyes, telling police that the man was their friend.

A woman burst into tears at the sight of the victim, saying that it could not be. Many of the people in the area were calling their friends, reporting the news that the man had been killed.

While dozens of people were within plain sight of the shooting when it occurred, few admitted to seeing anything. One person said that only a single shot was heard, and another said the victim was seen with his hand, or hands, on the wall of the fort just before being shot.

No one reported having heard any arguing prior to the shooting.

Many sat in the shadows later, watching as the police scanned the area with their flashlights, inspecting the body of the young man and searching for evidence in the dark.

Others went about their business, some of them buying ice cream cones from an ice cream truck parked up against the yellow tape, still playing children's music.

"I'm waiting to find out what happened to make any kind of comment," said Querrard, who was not on the scene.

Querrard said until he found out what took place between the officer and the victim, he did not feel comfortable commenting on how the shooting might affect the public's perception of VIPD's role in their safety, at Carnival and in general.

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

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