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Feds Were Involved in Response to Cash & Carry Shooting in La Reine; Velinor Says Statement Likely From U.S. Attorney’s Office

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ST. CROIX — What exactly occurred in Estate La Reine Monday night where two individuals were shot, one fatally, after 9:00 p.m. remains unknown. The incident resulted in the death of Jovel Newton, according to the V.I.P.D., who succumbed to injuries sustained on the scene of the shooting.

But law enforcement officers — including well-placed Consortium police sources — have been tightlipped as to what really occurred. Police Commissioner Trevor Velinor, who mentioned the involvement of federal partners briefly during a Tuesday morning press briefing, provided further details but steered clear of stating what happened — at least for now — adding that an internal investigation was being conducted.

“We had in that investigation agents from the HSI along with DEA, along with VIPD. I’m not going to address the issue of who actually shot; we’re still investigating that matter at this point,” Mr. Velinor told the Consortium Tuesday afternoon.

He said Homeland Security Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Agency and V.I.P.D. officers responded to the La Reine incident. The commissioner also stated that federal agents who were part of the response were also VIPD law enforcement officers deputized as federal agents of HSI and the DEA. These officers also work with the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area initiative (HIDTA) and receive selfsame training as other federal law enforcement personnel.

“It’s still an ongoing investigation and some of it requires internal investigation taking place, and it’s a very meticulous process,” Mr. Velinor said. “But yes, I will confirm it, but not in this conversation. There’s a reason for this. We have the federal entities to include DEA, along with HSI along with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Dept. of Justice, who will likely put out a statement.”

The Consortium reached out to the U.S. Attorney for the Virgin Islands, Gretchen Shappert, who stated, “The U.S. Attorney’s Office has no comment.”

According to V.I.P.D. Public Information Officer Toby Derima, the shooting occurred at about 9:25 p.m. Monday, prompting the 911 Emergency Call Center to dispatch officers to the area. Upon their arrival, one victim was found lying lifeless on the ground, and it was determined that he had no vital signs. Mr. Derima said another victim was shot but survived the incident.

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