Two men were killed Friday night in what the V.I. Police Department said were two separate shootings. A man died from gunshot injuries in Estate Anna’s Retreat at about 10:30 p.m. and another man was fatally shot a few minutes before midnight in Savan, according to the report.
They were the 16th and 17th homicides on St. Thomas since the beginning of the year. The deaths bring the territory's homicide total to 36.
Police were dispatched to Estate Anna’s Retreat, where they found an unresponsive man on the ground in front of his residence. He had received multiple gunshot wounds. Police identified the victim as 30-year-old David Payne. Emergency medical technicians on the scene said the victim has no vital signs. He was taken to the Schneider Regional Medical Center and later pronounced dead by medical personnel.
At about 11:45 the same night, police were dispatched to Gamble Gade in Savan where there had been reports of a gunshot victim. When police arrived they found an injured man in the street. The victim, who was later identified as 39-year-old Andre Jules Tanis, a native of Haiti, was taken by ambulance to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. The preliminary police investigation revealed Tanis was in the area of Friendly Bar in Savan when several shots were fired at him. He was seen running from the area and later collapsed on Gamble Gade.
Both murders are being followed up by detectives from the the Major Crime unit. Police do not believe at this time that the two cases are related; however they are pursuing all leads in order to identify the suspects.
In both cases forensic technicians gathered evidence from the crime scenes as detectives conducted the investigations.
St. Thomas/St. John/ Water Island Chief of Police Darren Foy denounced the recent gun violence affecting the community.
“I am pleading with the citizens of the Virgin Islands to handle conflicts in a more peaceful manner and to stop the gun violence," he said. "There is no situation so serious that would justify someone taking another man’s life.”
Foy said the department will use all available resources to aggressively address the issue of gun violence.