Jan. 5, 2004 – Police declined on Monday to identify either a St. Croix man who was shot four times on Sunday night or his son, a police officer, saying that doing so could undermine their investigation of the incident.
The victim was in Juan F. Luis Hospital's intensive care unit in "stable but serious" condition after undergoing emergency surgery on Monday, Sgt. Thomas Hannah, Police Department spokesman, said.
Police received word of the shooting around midnight Sunday, Hannah said. "It occurred in the vicinity of the Alfredo Andrews School," he said. "We believe that the identity of the victim and that of the police officer should be withheld until the investigation is firmly established."
Hannah said the victim was driving his son's Mazda B2000 pickup truck when he came under heavy gunfire. "The suspects fired through the passenger side of the vehicle and, lucky for the victim, he reacted quickly by escaping through the driver's door," Hannah said.
The victim was hit four times on the left side of the body, and police recovered more than 20 spent ammunition casings at the scene, Hannah said. He would say only that the bullets were from a high-powered rifle; however, WVWI Radio quoted unidentified sources Monday afternoon as saying the gun was an assault-style rifle, a .223-caliber weapon.
Also, according to Hannah, the findings of a preliminary investigation indicate that "more than one gun was used."
Hannah declined to confirm reports that the victim's son is assigned to a drug-interdiction unit in the Police Department. He would say only that "the officer is assigned to a specialized unit under the Office of the Commissioner."
He also declined to speculate on whether the suspects opened fire on the truck thinking that the officer was in the vehicle.
The victim was taken to Luis Hospital by ambulance, Hannah said, adding that it was his understanding that the man underwent "a successful surgery."
Hannah said no federal law-enforcement agencies had been brought into the investigation as of Monday afternoon. "At this point, the case is actively being pursued by the Criminal Investigation Bureau under the direction of Lt. Gregory Bennerson," he said.
Police asked that anyone with information about the shooting call the police at 778-2211, 778-4950 or 911.
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