The Virgin Islands Police Department is working diligently to track down the criminals responsible for a string of recent violent crimes in the Hospital Ground area of St. Thomas.
The violence started on April 7th, when an innocent woman was shot. According to police, a woman heard several shots being fired and ran, she was shot twice and hospitalized with non life-threatening injuries.
The next morning, the gun violence turned deadly.
Police were called back to the area for shots fired around 4:15 in the morning on April 8th, and found Deshaune Harrigan, 44, dead. Officers arrived to the scene to find him lying face down in the street with multiple gunshots.
16 hours later, VIPD was called back to Hospital Ground for the deadly shooting of Michael McKie, 42.
Then, on April 10th, in broad daylight, around 8:07 a.m., VIPD officers got another call for shots fired in Hospital Ground. They discovered Junior Akimo Freeman, 35, lying dead in the street in the area of the basketball court, he had been shot multiple times.
In all, over a 4 day period, 5 people were shot in Hospital Ground, 3 people were killed.
And since the outbreak of gun violence, VIPD has significantly increased patrols in the area.
During a news conference on Tuesday, Police Commissioner Trevor Velinor says detectives are working diligently to track down the criminal(s) who pulled the triggers in each case.
And they’re asking for the public’s help in doing so. They’ve teamed up with Crime Stoppers USVI to offer an increased reward of $10,000 for any information directly leading to the arrest of the individual(s) responsible.
In the meantime, the increase in patrols has allowed the police department to get several illegal weapons off the streets of St. Thomas.
They’ve sized 7 firearms, including 4 pistols and a couple AK-47 type rifles.
In one case, while conducting an inspection in Hospital Ground in the vicinity of Jah Yard, officers of the VIPD Special Operations Bureau arrested Kenan Thomas, age 32 of Hospital Ground. Police say he was in possession of two assault rifles and two semi-automatic handguns.
The VIPD charged Thomas with Possession of an Unlicensed Firearm, Unlawful Possession of Ammunition and Possession of a Firearm Less Than 1000 Feet of a Public Park.
Commissioner Velinor would not say whether the recent increase in violence was drug or gang related, telling USVI News that the investigations were still ongoing.
If you have any information which could lead to an arrest in any of the deadly shootings, you’re asked to call 911, the VIPD Criminal Investigation Bureau at (340) 774-2211, or Crime Stoppers USVI at (800) 222-TIPS.