Police are on the lookout for at least one suspect that was injured early Thursday morning during a shootout following an attempted robbery in Estate Bakkeroe on St. Thomas.
During a press conference Thursday, Acting Police Chief Rodney Querrard said that officers were dispatched around 3:15 a.m. after an alarm was activated in the residence by someone “moving around.”
Querrard said officers received bad directions from the alarm company, delaying VIPD’s arrival, but once there, officers radioed for backup after noticing an open window at the house.
“A suspect was observed in the residence by officers and shots were exchanged after the suspect fired at the officers,” Querrard added.
The suspect – or possibly suspects – then fled the scene on foot. Officers attempting to follow were slowed down by the terrain and darkness, so K9 units were called in to help look. Querrard said it was apparent from blood found at the scene that at least one suspect was injured while either entering or exiting the house.
Querrard called on the community to provide any information they have to law enforcement, and he also asked health and hospital officials to report anyone coming in with lacerations or gun shot wounds. At this point, police described the suspect as a dark black male with a slim build that was wearing a green bandana and a dark shirt with white writing.
Querrard said that officers will come down on anyone found harboring the suspect, who he said “disrespected” the officers and the job that they do by firing at them while on the scene.
“We want the community to know that the VIPD is not going to sit back and allow this disrespect for life and property to continue,” said Querrard. “We will do everything within the law to deter the criminals living among us from continuing to terrorize our people. We will not tolerate anyone firing at our officers, who are in the act of protecting life and property.”
Thursday’s shooting is just the most recent in a string of incidents – including last year’s shooting of Officers Aaron Hodge and Colvin Georges, who eventually died of the wounds he sustained on the job – that have put officers’ lives at risk.
When asked Thursday if the department has a strategy to counter this trend, Querrard reiterated that VIPD will continue to do whatever it can within the confines of the law.
“Criminals, they can do whatever they want, but we can’t just go and kick in someone’s door, for example, to look for guns,” Querrard said. He added that the incidents of suspects firing against officers have also increased stateside and across the Caribbean.
“This is a breakdown in general for mankind,” he said. “I don’t know what’s going on.”
Another concern that Querrard addressed Thursday was the general lack of street addresses within the territory. Querrard said that while the government is working on a geospatial information system that would help with the problem, he also urged home owners with alarm systems to give updated directions to their alarm companies, who in turn, would be able to direct 911 dispatchers or emergency responders more quickly.