Feb. 8, 2007 A 25-year-veteran officer of the V.I. Police Department was killed Thursday afternoon when he intervened in an altercation in the Hospital Ground area. Police were called to the scene near Lima's Grocery Store at 1:29 p.m.
Officer Ariel Frett, 52, died of multiple gunshot wounds. A suspect in the shooting is in custody at Schneider Regional Medical Center, where he is being treated for gunshot wounds. A third person was also shot in the incident, but acting Police Commissioner James McCall could not say Thursday evening if the third person was a bystander or somehow involved in the altercation.
Police were not releasing the name of the suspect as of publication time or the name of the third person.
Frett was off duty at the time of the shooting. A second off-duty Police officer came upon the scene and attempted to help, McCall said.
"He saw what was occurring and immediately tried to protect Officer Frett."
Meanwhile, Frett's firearm was stolen and has not been recovered. "We're making every effort to retrieve that firearm," McCall said.
Several federal agencies are assisting with the investigation, including the U.S. Marshal's Office, the FBI, Drug Enforcement Agency, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to McCall.
McCall said he has met with Frett's family, and VIPD victim advocate Leslye Webb was also meeting with family members, including Frett's fiancé of nine years.
The off-duty officer who attempted to assist Frett will also receive trauma therapy. "Most police officers never experience a shooting death, especially of a fellow officer," McCall said. "It is a traumatic experience."
Gov. John deJongh Jr. has been briefed, according to McCall, and extends his deepest sympathy to the family and the Police force.
Frett would have celebrated 25 years on the force on Friday. He started with the VIPD on Feb. 9, 1982.
Police are asking anyone with information about the shooting to call Major Crime at 715-5534 or McCall at 715-5506.
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