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Swift Intervention Prevents Tragedy in St. Thomas: Firearm Malfunction Saves Life

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In a remarkable turn of events on Christmas Day, a potentially fatal shooting was averted in the Bovoni Housing Community of St. Thomas, thanks to a firearm malfunction. The incident, which could have resulted in a tragic loss of life, led to Shak-I Ward facing serious legal repercussions with multiple felony charges.

Court records reveal that in the early hours of December 25, police rushed to the Schneider Regional Medical Center responding to a report of a gunshot victim. The victim, at the medical center, recounted a harrowing experience. He was enjoying a game of dominoes and sharing jokes with friends when Shak-I Ward, known locally as “Fatman” or “Lilo”, confronted the group. Misunderstanding their conversation as being about him, Ward reportedly drew a black firearm and aimed it at one of the men’s head. In what seemed like a stroke of fate, the gun malfunctioned as Ward pulled the trigger. This crucial moment allowed another individual to intervene, deflecting Ward’s hand, which led to the gun discharging and injuring Ward’s intended target on the left side of his face. The victim’s friend and Ward then engaged in a struggle for the gun, which ended with the firearm being thrown into nearby bushes. Following the altercation, both the aggressor and the injured party left the scene, with the latter seeking medical treatment.

Later, police interviewed the victim’s wife, who identified Ward as the shooter and provided his residential details in the housing community. A wanted poster for Ward was subsequently issued and shared on the VIPD’s social media platforms.

On December 26, Boxing Day, the police received a tip about Ward’s whereabouts. They located a white vehicle linked to him and found it occupied by two individuals, including Ward’s sister. She cooperated with the officers, leading them to Ward’s location for his arrest. Ward was taken to the Criminal Investigation Bureau at the Alexander Farrelly Justice Complex but chose to remain silent during questioning.

Ward faces an array of charges including first-degree assault, third-degree assault, and multiple counts related to unlawful firearm and ammunition possession, among others. Despite the dismissal of one charge, his bail remains set at $100,000, with an option to pay 15 percent in cash.

Conditional to his bail, Ward must comply with stringent measures including bi-weekly probation office visits, surrendering his driver’s license, and restrictions on travel, substance use, and weapon possession.

The case, which underscores the pressing issue of gun violence in the community, is set to continue with Ward’s next court appearance scheduled for January 12. The incident, while alarming, also highlights the community’s resilience and the swift action of law enforcement in preventing a greater tragedy.

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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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Crime

Police Detain Suspect in Shooting Incident Near St. Croix Fire Station

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The Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD) announced the successful apprehension of 19-year-old Malyki Lockhart on Thursday, in a significant development related to a shooting attempt incident from September 10, 2023.

This operation, a collaborative effort by the VIPD’s Criminal Investigation Bureau and the Special Operations Bureau, underscores the department’s commitment to maintaining public safety and bringing those accused of serious crimes to justice.

The arrest stems from an alarming episode that unfolded near the Richmond fire station on St. Croix. A man recounted a harrowing experience of being targeted by gunfire from an approaching vehicle, with the assailant identified as Lockhart, who allegedly opened fire while leaning out of the car.

In the wake of a meticulous investigation, it was concluded that Lockhart had purportedly been at the helm of the vehicle during the attack. This led to the issuance of an arrest warrant for first-degree attempted murder and a search warrant for his residence on February 14. The court set bail at $100,000.

Upon executing the search and arrest warrants, Lockhart was taken into custody. Given the inability to secure bail, he was subsequently detained at the John Bell Correctional Facility. He awaits an Advice of Rights Hearing slated for Friday at the V.I. Superior Court, where he will be formally apprised of the charges levied against him.

This arrest highlights the relentless efforts of law enforcement to protect the community and ensure that justice is served, reflecting the VIPD’s dedication to upholding law and order in the face of criminal activities.

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