Feb. 13, 2007 — The man charged with killing a veteran police officer last week in a midday shoot-out in Hospital Ground on St. Thomas was held on $500,000 bail after an advice of rights hearing in Superior Court Tuesday.
Jermaine Paris — charged with first-degree murder, assault and unlawful use of a firearm — could face life in prison if convicted of the Feb. 8 killing of Officer Ariel Frett.
Paris, 24, turned himself over to authorities Monday after an intense three-day manhunt by police, said acting Police Commissioner James McCall.
During the hearing, Detective Mario Stoutt of the VIPD's Major Crimes Unit told Judge Brenda Hollar that Paris' 16-year-old brother (who has not been identified since he is a minor) hit Frett with a rock then fired shots into the officer's chest and face.
A second officer, Lorne Clarke, saw the shooting and saw Jermaine Paris standing nearby with a gun. Clarke ordered both men to drop their guns.
When the 16-year-old ran away, Clarke shot him in the back, Stoutt said.
According to Stoutt, Jermaine Paris did not drop his gun but pointed it at Clarke, who took cover behind a moving bus.
It was not clear if Jermaine Paris fired at Clarke before fleeing. During the hearing, no one testified that Jermaine Paris ever actually shot Frett. However, according to the territory's felony murder statute, Paris can be convicted of first-degree murder as an accomplice — regardless of whether or not he fired a single shot.
Police said the 16-year-old seen by Stoutt shooting Frett was shot nine times and remains hospitalized. At this point, police are calling him a "person if interest" in the shooting, but he has not been charged due to his medical condition.
Frett, 52, died from multiple gunshot wounds near a home he owned in downtown Charlotte Amalie. Contrary to earlier police reports, Stoutt said Frett was not armed when he was shot.
Frett's death came the day before he would have celebrated his 25th anniversary on the police force, although he was eligible to retire after 20 years.
Another man was shot in the arm during the shooting, McCall said, but it was not clear if he was an innocent bystander or took part in the shoot-out.
Initial reports that Clarke was injured in the shooting were incorrect, McCall said.
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