St. Croix police have identified the victim of Tuesday's night shooting at the Aureo Diaz Heights housing community. Mannix Phillips, 33, of Mon Bijou died at the scene of the shooting shortly before 7:30 p.m. after suffering gunshot wounds to the head and neck, Deputy Police Chief Novelle Francis said Wednesday.
Francis said police learned more about the incidents leading up to the shooting as the investigation took shape Wednesday.
"We were told that the victim intervened into a dispute between two brothers and was gunned down by the older brother," Francis said.
Within minutes of the shooting, police took Nathaniel Hazell into custody on charges of first-degree murder and illegal weapons possession charges. Hazell has been remanded to custody in lieu of $200,000 bail following an advice-of-rights hearing in Territorial Court.
According to Francis, Hazell has admitted shooting Phillips. Hazell's younger bother Nigel and the victim were playing dice in front of one of the public housing community's buildings when the gunfire erupted. Police said earlier that Nathaniel Hazell shot Phillips after he attempted to intervene in a dispute between Nigel and Nathaniel Hazell.
Police investigators recovered the murder weapon, a .22-caliber rifle from a bushy area near the Walter I. M. Hodge housing community. Hazell, who caught a dollar-ride to the Hodge housing community after the shooting, allegedly hid the loaded gun there.
Phillips' death is the territory's 13th murder this year. There have been five killings on St. Croix and eight in the St. Thomas- St. John district.