Juan DeDios, the 17-year-old suspect who died during the shootout with police March 25 at the McDonald’s restaurant in Lockhart Garden, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the V.I. Police Department reported Monday.
The determination was made following an autopsy, the police said.
DeDios was one of three young gunmen who entered the restaurant the night of March 25 and held the employees and customers hostage. According to police, at least one of the hostages was able to call 911, alerting law enforcement, and officers rushed to the scene. In an exchange of gunfire, DeDios died and two other suspects were wounded.
One of the wounded was identified as 18-year-old Hanselmo Joseph Feliz Recio. Both Recio and DeDios were born in Santo Domingo. The other is a minor whose name was not released by police.
Monday’s news release noted, “While the investigation is still ongoing, the VIPD find it necessary to inform the public that an autopsy was performed on … (DeDios) and, it was determined that his cause of death was a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The officers involved, though they returned fire after being fired upon, were not responsible for the death of Mr. DeDios.”
During a news conference following the shootout, 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.