An off-duty V.I. Police officer who was the victim of a robbery Wednesday morning pursued and shot the suspect, who was treated for a gunshot wound to the leg at Schneider Regional Medical Center, the VIPD reported.
Police identified the suspect as Vernon Rawlins, 26, of Solberg. He was still undergoing treatment as of Wednesday afternoon. Police did not identify the officer who fired the shots, promising a "fair and unbiased investigation" into the matter.
According to the VIPD, officers responded to a robbery report at about 3:46 a.m. in the vicinity of the Department of Labor on Kronprindsens Gade.
Arrival to the scene, they were met by an off-duty officer who said a fellow officer was robbed by an armed man while off duty.
The officer said that while traveling along Kronprindsens Gade, he stopped at the stoplight near the Department of Labor. At the light, he was approached by a bicyclist wearing all black and a black ski mask. The man pointed a black handgun at the officer’s face and told him to “Give it up,” attempting to pull the chain off of the officer’s neck.
Unable to remove it, according to the report, the officer then removed the chain and gave it to the suspect to avoid losing his life. The suspect fled towards the area of the Department of Labor Parking lot while the officer exited his vehicle and pursued the suspect.
The officer said he identified himself as a police officer, at which time the suspect turned and pointed the gun at the officer. The officer then took cover behind his vehicle and fired several shots towards the suspect.
The suspect was shot in the left leg and was transported to the hospital.
The VIPD reported it was pleased that no other individuals were injured in the incident and "sincere concern for our officers," as using force that causes serious injuries remains an unfavorable task.
However, the statement said, the department "continues to have no lenience for violence in our community and will continue to keep our officers and innocent members of our community safe and protected from those who choose to disobey the law."
The Criminal and Internal Affairs Bureaus conducting the investigation into the case.
Anyone with information about the incident can notify Major Crimes at 340-714-9823 ext. 5617, Criminal Investigation Bureau at 340-714-9807 ext. 5556, the Office of the Police Chief at 340-774-2211, or the anonymous tip service, Crime Stoppers USVI, at 1-800-222-8477.