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St. John Assault Under VIPD’s Microscope: Multiple Attackers Involved

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Police tape stretched across a road at a crime scene cordon point. Credit: Stephen Barnes/Alamy News

ST. JOHN – A violent incident involving multiple attackers on St. John is under intensive scrutiny by the V.I. Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB). The assault, which took place in the vicinity of Jacob’s Ladder during the early hours of Sunday, September 3, is now the focal point of an ongoing probe.

Responding to a call around 1:02 a.m., officers from the Leander Jurgen Command were initially under the impression that they were attending to a hit-and-run accident. The call was based on reports that a man seemed to have been hit by a vehicle in the area.

However, the scene painted a different, more concerning picture. When officers reached the location, they found a Caucasian man, noticeably injured with signs suggesting a violent physical confrontation. The man had suffered injuries at the hands of several individuals. Witnesses and on-site evidence point to an organized group assault rather than a random accident.

The victim was swiftly transferred to the Schneider Regional Medical Center, where he received medical attention for the multiple wounds inflicted upon him.

While the motive and the specifics of the incident are still under wraps, the Criminal Investigation Bureau has taken charge of the inquiry. Their focus will be to piece together the events leading up to the assault, identify the attackers, and ensure they are brought to justice.

Authorities are making a concerted appeal to the public. Anyone possessing information that might shed light on this incident is urged to step forward. Tips or leads can be relayed to 911 or directly to the Criminal Investigation Bureau at (340) 693-8880 ext. 5207. For those who wish to remain anonymous, they can also reach out to Crime Stoppers V.I. at 1(800) 222-TIPS. Cooperation from the community is crucial, not only for the resolution of this case but also to prevent such incidents from recurring and ensuring the safety and security of St. John residents.

As USVI News will continue to track this story, ensuring our readers receive accurate, timely updates is a commitment. Public safety remains paramount, and keeping the community informed is an integral part of that endeavor.

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Crime

Daring Nighttime Maritime Operation Foiled by CBP Agents

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In a bold effort thwarted by vigilant Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials, a man now faces charges in the Virgin Islands District Court following a thwarted human smuggling operation from Tortola to St. John.

The drama unfolded on the night of February 23, near the serene Leinster Bay in St. John. CBP Marine Interdiction Agents, during their coastal patrol, detected an unlit boat making its secretive journey from the shores of Tortola. Employing night vision technology, the agents meticulously tracked the vessel as it stealthily crossed international waters, arriving in the tranquil vicinity of Leinster Bay, near the historic Annaberg ruins, under the cloak of darkness.

The boat’s attempt to slip back to Tortola was abruptly halted when the agents, revealing their presence with activated lights and sirens, demanded the vessel to stop. Lorenzo Charles, the captain hailing from St. Vincent & the Grenadines, was apprehended, and the boat was seized and towed to St. Thomas.

The capture revealed Charles and five passengers aboard: three individuals from India, including a minor, an Argentinian, and a Dominican Republic national. It was determined that none were U.S. citizens, having entered the country without authorization.

Charles promptly acknowledged his wrongdoing upon interrogation, confessing to a Homeland Security Investigations special agent about the illicit nature of his actions. He disclosed a desperate attempt to settle a $4000 debt by performing the smuggling operation, arranged after a mysterious lender demanded repayment.

According to Charles, the operation was meticulously planned, with the embarkation from Tortola’s West End under the guidance of his creditor, who loaded the five passengers onto his vessel. Despite lacking GPS equipment, Charles was confident in his navigational skills, having observed St. John from Tortola. He admitted to previously smuggling individuals into the U.S. and hoped this operation would extinguish his remaining debt.

The passengers shared a different story, claiming payment to another for their transport from Tortola to St. John, highlighting the complex web of human smuggling operations.

A detention hearing for Charles is scheduled with U.S. Magistrate Ruth Miller. Prosecutors advocate for his detention, citing a significant flight risk, though they remain open to conditional pre-trial release given the identification of a reliable third-party custodian.

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Crime

Law Enforcement Swiftly Captures Suspect in Christiansted Robbery Spree

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Following a series of robbery incidents in Christiansted on February 20, the Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD) demonstrated remarkable efficiency by arresting 28-year-old Koi Thomas. The alarming events, reported to the emergency services in close succession at approximately 10:45 a.m. and 11:00 a.m., prompted a swift and thorough response from the VIPD’s Criminal Investigation Bureau detectives.

Eyewitness accounts from the victims were crucial in the investigation, enabling law enforcement to quickly gather surveillance footage pinpointing Thomas as the perpetrator. In a fortunate turn of events, Thomas had been apprehended earlier the same day on unrelated larceny charges in the Gallows Bay area, and was already under detention at the John Bell Correctional Facility.

Detectives visited the correctional facility on February 22, where they officially charged Thomas with two counts of third-degree robbery. Subsequently, Thomas was processed at the Wilbur H. Francis Command Police Station, with his bail determined at $25,000.

Despite Thomas’s court hearing being scheduled for the following Friday, information pertaining to his legal proceedings had yet to be disclosed publicly by Sunday. This arrest underscores the vigilance and dedication of the Virgin Islands law enforcement in maintaining public safety and swiftly addressing criminal activities.

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Crime

Tragic Shooting in St. Thomas Leaves Young Man Dead

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A tragic incident unfolded in the Bovoni Housing Community of St. Thomas late on Thursday night, claiming the life of a young resident. Omar K. Fontaine, a 20-year-old local, fell victim to a lethal shooting, succumbing to multiple gunshot wounds.

The incident was detected by the ShotSpotter Detection System, which notified the V.I. Police Department of the gunfire at precisely 11:11 p.m. Officers from the Mariel C. Newton Command swiftly responded to the alert and discovered Fontaine unresponsive. Despite the prompt arrival of emergency medical technicians, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Fontaine’s untimely death has sparked a thorough investigation by the Major Crimes Unit of the VIPD, which is determined to bring those responsible to justice. The police are appealing to the community for assistance, encouraging anyone with information to step forward. Contributions can be made directly to the Major Crimes Unit at 340-642-8449, through a call to 911, or by submitting tips anonymously via Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8476 or online through their tip form.

This devastating event underscores the urgent need for community cooperation and vigilance in combating violence and safeguarding our neighborhoods.

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