March 14, 2009 — Police officers investigating a possible shooting came under fire twice Saturday afternoon as they pursued a suspicious vehicle leaving Oswald Harris Court.
No officers were injured, but a bystander was taken to the hospital for a gunshot wound to the leg. Meanwhile, police have taken two suspects into custody and recovered two guns, according to Police Commissioner James McCall. Police are "pretty sure" other suspects are still on the loose, and community members are urged to call in with any information, McCall added.
Around 3 p.m. Saturday, an officer in an unmarked vehicle heard shots coming from the housing community. He drove around to investigate, then started to follow a suspicious vehicle leaving the scene.
"While in pursuit, the officer began putting out information on the radio, and an off-duty officer who saw what was going on also joined in, following in his private vehicle," McCall said. The two were joined by a marked unit in the area of Fort Mylner, but by that time, the occupants of the vehicle they were pursuing had opened fire on police.
"As a result, an innocent bystander was hit — the shot went through their car door and hit the person in the leg," McCall said. "We do believe, at this point, that the wound is non-life-threatening."
Police continued to follow the car, which stopped again on Brookman Road, near the Heavy Materials plant.
"At that time, the suspects jumped out the vehicle, and proceeded to run up the hill," McCall said. "The officers had to catch up, but by the time they got to the location, the suspects opened fire once again, with one of the rounds striking the overhead bar of the marked unit. The officers continued to pursue the suspects while being fired upon."
Police officers did return fire, and the incident will be investigated by the department, he added.
Calls for help went out on the radio and "all of the territory's alarm forces" responded, McCall added. Along with the V.I. Police Department, officers from Planning and Natural Resources, Health, Taxi Enforcement, Fire Services, U.S. Marshals Service, FBI and the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas came out to assist, he said.
"I truly commend the officers for their heroic efforts," McCall said Saturday. "They did an excellent job, and acted in a truly courageous manner."
Meanwhile, residents with any information can call: Major Crimes at 715-5522 or 715-5514, the police chief's office at 715-5548, 911, or Crime Stoppers USVI at 1-800-222-TIPS.
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