POLICE: 2 PARADISE MILLS KILLINGS MAY BE RELATED

Oct. 26, 2002 – Police on St. Croix are looking at the recent shooting death of a man near the Paradise Mills housing community as possibly being related to another killing that took place a short distance away, a few days before.
Ricky Maxwell, 24, was shot several times Wednesday night by an unknown assailant. He was found gravely wounded in a storeroom of Paradise Mills Building 3 and died later that night at Juan F. Luis Hospital.
The shooting took place "within a few hundred feet" of where 19-year-old Julio Rivera was fatally shot on Oct. 17, according to Police Lt. Gregory Bennerson, the chief investigator. Both incidents may have been linked to drugs, Bennerson said on Saturday.
The area where the two deaths occurred is recognized by authorities as a congregating point for people — not necessarily public housing residents — who buy and sell drugs.
But police also are looking at the possibility that Maxwell may have been shot in retaliation for the earlier shooting at Paradise Mills.
Maxwell's death was the third homicide recorded this month that occurred near a public housing community on St. Croix. On Oct. 7, the decomposed body of Noel Rivera was found in a bushy area near the Walter I.M. Hodge Pavilion. The nature of the man's death was not immediately evident at the time of the discovery, Bennerson said, but gunshot wounds were found on the body in later examination, and the case was ruled a homicide.
The two Riveras were not related, police said.
Police are now going door to door in the communities in search of clues. Bennerson said there has been some cooperation from residents, but much of the information that has been shared so far was already known to investigators.
Anyone who may be able to assist police with the investigation of these crimes is asked to call the police at 778-2211 or emergency number, 911.
The three killings brought the homicide toll for 2002 to 18 on St. Croix and 36 territorywide, compared with 10 on St. Croix and 20 in the Virgin Islands as of this time last year.

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