Police Issue Wanted Poster for Double Homicide Suspect

The red Honda Civic bein towed away has been identified as belonging to double homicide suspect Steve Tyson.Around 2 p.m. Monday, a shiny blue police tow truck moved slowly up the main road from Coki Point Beach, hauling a red Honda Civic that officers place at the scene of a shootout that left two people — a local male and a 14-year-old tourist — dead.
The incident, which occurred around 11:50 a.m. Monday, pulls the territory’s homicide count up to 44 for the year.
The male victim has been identified as 18-year-old Shahid Joseph, who police have said was at the Coki Point Cemetery attending the burial of Joseph Ferrari Jr., who died at the end of last month after being shot in the Tutu Park Mall parking lot.
Police said a loaded magazine clip was found on Joseph, whose dead body, according to a Monday news release, was found lying "in the middle of the roadway."
Police have said the second victim, 14-year-old Lizmarie Perez Chapparro, a visitor to the island, was traveling aboard a safari bus that got caught in the crossfire as shots rang through the area. Schneider Regional Medical Center spokesman Sam Topp said the girl was brought in after noon with a gunshot wound to the side of her body and died shortly after in the emergency room.
The wanted posted issued by VIPD for suspect Steve Tyson.According to a release from the Tourism Department, a charter flight was subsequently arranged to take the girl’s family back to Puerto Rico. Tourism officials stayed with the family until they left St. Thomas Monday afternoon, the release said.
Police have already picked up three persons of interest that they said have been brought in for questioning, but the manhunt continues for the owner of the red Honda Civic, who has been identified as Steve Tyson. Police have issued a wanted poster for Tyson, who they say fled the area on foot, and is suspected to be the person on the other side of the shootout with Joseph.
Police and other law enforcement officers flooded the scene Monday, canvassing the area well into the afternoon, as large groups of tourists milled about. Police Commissioner Novelle Francis Jr. said the beach was evacuated and cordoned off while police did their investigation, which wrapped later in the afternoon.
The news of the double homicide spread quickly throughout the island, with many residents expressing shock and indignation that such a bold daylight shooting could occur in the midst of a funeral at a packed, and popular, local beach.
The government’s top officials released public statements offering much the same reaction.
"I was deeply saddened to hear of this reckless and brazen attack that has left two young persons dead,” Delegate Donna Christensen said in a statement released from her office soon after the incident occurred. "This is unacceptable, and I call on all Virgin Islanders to unite against the plague of violence that has gripped our community."
Christensen, like Gov. John deJongh Jr., thanked police for their quick work on the scene. But deJongh also called on parents to be more vigilant at home, and for the community’s residents to turn their backs on the territory’s criminals.
"What we are experiencing today is the result of many years of neglect, which we can no longer tolerate," the governor said. "Everyone must rise up against those who continue to wage violent crime on our streets. We must offer them no aid, no protection, no cover and no mercy. We must close ranks against those who respect neither life nor law."
The case is currently under active investigation by the Major Crime Bureau. Residents with any information are urged to contact VIPDs Criminal Investigation Bureau at 715-5516 or 714-9834. Tips can also be called in to Crime Stoppers USVI at 1-800-222-8477.

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