The suspected gunman killed Saturday night in a shootout with police at the Sugar Estate McDonald’s was named Monday evening by the V.I. Police Department as 17-year-old Juan de Dios.
Born in Santo Domingo, Dios’s 18th birthday was less than a month away, on April 13. His remains were identified by his mother, according to the police.
Juan de Dios was one of three suspects who stormed into the McDonald’s just before 11 p.m. Saturday taking employees and patrons hostage. One of the hostages was able to call 911 and report what was happening, and law enforcement officials raced to the scene. In an exchange of gunfire, de Dios was killed and two other suspects were wounded.
One of the wounded was identified as 18-year-old Hanselmo Joseph Feliz Recio, also born in Santo Domingo. The other is a minor whose name was not released by police.
During a press conference Monday afternoon, St. Thomas-St. John Police Chief Jason Marsh praised the hostages for their bravery.
“I’d like to recognize the brave men and women that were in McDonald’s at the time and still managed to call 911 to let the police know what was going on,” he said.
The chief also praised the officers from the VIPD along with marshals from the V.I. Supreme Court and Superior Court for containing the situation. No officers or hostages were injured, he pointed out.
The chief refused to be drawn into speculation about what charges the Attorney General’s Office will eventually bring against the suspects. He also noted the investigation is ongoing and wouldn’t discuss details of what police believe transpired Saturday night, other than to confirm that officers believed they were being fired upon. He also wouldn’t discuss the possible connection between this incident and armed robberies on St. Thomas.