Four people were killed and another seven injured in three separate shooting incidents Saturday night and Sunday morning on St. Croix, the V.I. Police Department reported.
According to police, one incident was a home invasion gone bad. The second, the result of an argument in a bar, and the third a shooting on the street in Frederiksted.
The deaths bring the total for St. Croix to six since the year began, and the total for the territory to seven.
The police reported:
– At about 10:08 p.m., Saturday the 911 emergency call center received a call regarding the discovery of an unresponsive female gunshot victim at a residence in Estate La Grange. The victim, who expired at the scene, was identified by relatives as 66-year-old Elsi Ruiz. The incident appears to be a home invasion that turned deadly, the police said.
– At around 11:43 p.m. a call of shots fired and a man down at the Corner Pocket Grillhouse and Nightclub in Estate La Reine was received by the emergency call center.
The initial investigation revealed a verbal dispute at the establishment escalated when one of the men brandished a firearm and a shootout ensued between him and a group of men. Six individuals were wounded by the gunfire, with one man dying of his injuries at the Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital. The victim was identified as Du’Juan Tyson, 23. One other gunshot victim was listed in critical condition Sunday afternoon, while the remaining four victims received injuries that were not considered life-threatening.
– At roughly 12:21 a.m. Sunday another incident of shots fired was reported with multiple victims at the Ann E. Heyliger Vegetable Market in downtown Frederiksted. Officers arrived at the location and found an unresponsive male with gunshot wounds on the ground. Officers learned three other gunshot victims were transported to the hospital via private vehicles. The victim at the scene, who had no vital signs, was identified as Johnny Martinez, 49. Another victim, identified as David Clouden, 47, died at the hospital. The remaining two victims received non-life-threatening injuries.
St. Croix District Chief of Police Sidney Elskoe denounced the incident.
“We are too small of a community to allow senseless gun violence to exist,” he said.
Detectives urged anyone with information on these shootings to contact police by calling 911, the Crime Tip Line at 340-778-4950 or the anonymous tip service, Crime Stoppers USVI at 1-800-222-8477 (1-800-222-TIPS).
In a statement issued on Sunday by Government House, Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. condemned the carnage.
“There are few words to express the outrage and the hurt our community feels this morning because of the callous and reckless actions of those who chose to reign terror on our streets this weekend.”
The last thing the territory needs, he said, is further violence.
“We are dealing with enough as a community. We do not need to add this level of senseless gun crime to the challenges confronting our community. This is not who we are or what we stand for,” Bryan said.
The governor said he is praying for the victims and pleading with those in the community who know anything about the shootings “to come forward so that we can bring swift justice to the perpetrators of these senseless crimes.”