Local USVI News

Man Wanted for 2021 Robbery Facing Attempted Murder Charges After Being Arrested Last Week

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ST. CROIX — A man is before the courts on attempted murder, robbery and weapons charges from an incident dating back to 2021.

On October 23 of that year, police responded to a man who said that two masked men had robbed him and driven off in his silver Acura TSX. The man, wearing a torn shirt and bloody pants, limped up to the officer and told them that he was near Queen B’s grocery store talking to a friend when a black Nissan with tinted windows rolled up behind them. 

Two men got out, one reportedly armed with a black AK-47, and ordered the friends onto the ground. The one not carrying the rifle reportedly searched the men, taking $150 from his pants pocket. He then allegedly drove off in the hapless victim’s car. 

The man told police that he struggled with the gunman, who began to beat him with the rifle, striking him several times in the head. During the assault, the man told police he heard one gunshot go off, before seeing headlights and realizing that his car, with the robber behind the wheel, was heading straight for him. The car struck him on the left side of his body, the man said, before the assailant got out and also began to assault him. Eventually, the man reportedly got back into the victim’s Acura, while the other got into the Nissan, and both drove away from the scene, leaving the owner of the TSX bloodied, disoriented, and stranded. 

In speaking to the man, an officer took note of his scratched arm and legs, but observed a “red liquid substance” on his pants which “did not coincide with his injuries.” 

While one officer was interviewing the injured man, another officer had spotted the black Nissan Sentra, which was reportedly driving down the Melvin Evans Highway, escorted by a blue Ford F150 pickup. After the stop, the driver of the Sentra was identified as Zahkeed Bright, with his cousin behind the wheel of the Ford.

Police noted several “recent-appearing” bullet holes in the vehicle’s windshield and in the doorframe on the driver’s side, as well as a “large amount” of red liquid on the driver’s seat.  Officers found a magazine for an AK-47 rifle with live ammunition, two spent casings of matching ammunition, a white mask and white gloves covered in that red liquid in the car. Bright and his cousin were detained. 

Under police questioning, the cousin said that Bright called him in the evening, sounding frantic. “My partner got shot and we run off the road,” he said Bright told him. He was asked to go pick up Bright, so he did — in the Strawberry area, the cousin said. He brought him to his car -— the black Sentra — and Bright wondered whether he could make it home given one tire was flat. His cousin said that he followed behind the car with his hazards on, and that’s when the pair were stopped.

Statements from the cousin and from Bright himself revealed that it was a man named “Rockman” who got shot. On the day in question, “Rockman” came to pick Bright up to go to Mon Bijou to get his vehicle. “Rockman” had been driving Bright’s Sentra because he needed transportation to and from work, police learned. On the way to Mon Bijou, while they were traveling east on Queen Mary Highway near the old Brow Soda Factory, a white vehicle passed them in the opposite direction. Bright said that he saw muzzle flashes, and then the Sentra’s front windshield shattered. “Rockman” cried out that he had gotten shot, and subsequently lost control of the vehicle, driving into a ditch near the old Centerline Bakery. 

Discovering that his friend was bleeding and slipping in and out of consciousness, Bright says he tried to get to the Juan F Luis hospital, but somewhere near the Diageo storeroom, he discovered that his left tire was coming off the rim. He came to a halt, and later a man in an Acura SUV stopped, and said he would take them to the hospital. Bright told police that he asked to be dropped off in Estate Strawberry, because he did not want to be with “Rockman” when he arrived at the hospital. 

The SUV dropped him off near Kmart Appliances, Bright said, and then he called his cousin to meet him and travel back to Diageo’s storeroom to pick up his vehicle. That was where they were stopped by police. 

“Rockman”, whose real name Kareem Smith, later died at JFL from his injuries. 

The next morning, Sunday October 24, an off-duty police officer noticed the silver TSX that had been stolen the previous night. The victim identified the vehicle as his. There was blood on the front bumper and damage to the right fender, the side of the car the man said had hit him. Inside was a glass jar of what appeared to be marijuana and a black mask, neither of which the vehicle’s owner said was his. He did claim his mobile phone which was found on the driver’s seat. 

Apart from the damage to the right fender, officers also noted damage to the car’s left front tire and rim, and also bullet holes inside of the vehicle. 

After speaking with the parties involved, viewing surveillance footage, as well as collecting and processing forensic evidence, police concluded that blood on the wooden stock of the gun that was collected at the scene of the robbery was Smith’s. So was the liquid on the front bumper of the Acura, leading police to believe that he was hit when his friend Bright was trying to run over the vehicle’s owner. 

Police also believe that Smith was shot once in the abdomen “by an unknown individual”, and this is the wound that killed him.

With Smith dead, Bright is left alone to face charges of first-degree attempted murder, first and third-degree assault, first-degree robbery, unauthorized use of a vehicle, using a dangerous weapon in a crime of violence, unauthorized possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence, unauthorized possession of ammunition, and possession of stolen property.

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