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Crime / News / Virgin Islands / April 23, 2017

The V.I.P.D. has identified both the deceased and injured victims involved in a shooting incident that occurred in the wee hours of Sunday morning outside the Arian’s Entertainment Center, which is located in Subbase.

The deceased was identified by family members as 18-year-old Akil Grieg Jr., who suffered multiple gunshot wounds about the body. The second gunshot victim was identified as a 26-year-old male who was treated at the Schneider Regional Medical Center for multiple gunshot wounds about his body, and was confirmed to be in stable condition. 

According to V.I.P.D. Media Specialist Sakeeda Freeman, the 911 emergency call center received notification at about 2:19 a.m. regarding a fight in progress outside Arian’s. Moments later, more reports of gunshots being discharged came in. V.I.P.D. Commissioner Delroy Richards said people were seen fleeing the area hoping to move away from the violence.

Mr. Richards said the V.I.P.D. has been on heightened alert since the last shooting incident in St. Thomas, where a man was found dead in a car. But there are so many different functions happening at once during the carnival season, that clubs have been hiring their own off-duty security personnel — many of them peace officers with arrest powers — to supplement the already stretched St. Thomas police department, he added.

The commissioner assured that the incident would not damper the spirit of carnival nor the resolve of police officers, adding that the altercation may have occurred outside the area of security coverage. “This simply means somebody found a loophole to commit such an offense,” Mr. Richards said.

The V.I.P.D. has a good lead on the situation, the commissioner went on: “We know who was ejected from the club so there are several individuals being sought by us. We have good information on the case and we’re working on it,” Mr. Richards said.

The commissioner said the V.I.P.D. had long planned its heightened enforcement strategy leading up to carnival, this year being the 65th year as well as the Centennial celebration. “But like I said, they [police officers] can’t be every place at once; the only thing we can do is continue to do our initiatives — traffic stops and the sort, trying to see if we could identify illegal firearms, and step up our efforts at the airports and ports for illegal firearms,” he said.

He also recognized the difficulty of stopping every potential criminal activity, and said it’s going to take more than the V.I.P.D. to change the mindset of individuals who show no value for the lives of others.

“Irregardless of what you do, it’s going to happen one way or the other, because you can’t be every place at once and you can’t control people’s minds; folks just don’t have value for other people’s lives,” he said. “They react spontaneously to situations using deadly force and I don’t know when we’re going to change that, but I think it’s going to take more than the police department to change individuals who believe that that’s the way to solve conflict.”

The deceased victim was most likely in his twenties, Mr. Richards said. So too, was the injured individual.

Lastly, the commissioner called on residents to restrain themselves when potential conflicts arise, noting that St. Thomas currently has an influx of visitors who simply want to enjoy the islands’s culture and the carnival season.

“Let’s try to refrain from responding to situations that way,” he urged. “People go out to have a good time, we have a lot of visitors to the territory and they come in to have a good time. I think we need to try to restrain ourselves.”

As for the V.I.P.D., this morning’s incident will only strengthen the plan already in place, Mr. Richards said.

“We’re going to continue with our efforts and continue with our plans to ensure that folks coming to the territory and folks who reside in the territory enjoy the carnival in St. Thomas. So that’s not going to dampen our efforts — we’re going to be more vigilant than ever, if anything that has done. But we’ve been on heightened alert before the shooting.”

The V.I.P.D. is asking anyone who may have information about the fatal incident to call 340-774-2211, or Homicide Task Force at 340-714-5554/5617. Tipsters looking to be compensated for their leads should contact Crime Stoppers USVI, where thousands are rewarded annually to individuals who give information leading to the arrest of criminals.

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Ernice Gilbert
I wear many hats, I suppose, but the one which fits me best would be journalism, second to that would be radio personality, thirdly singer/songwriter and down the line. I've been the Editor-In-Chief at my videogames website, Gamesthirst, for over 5 years, writing over 7,000 articles and more than 2 million words. I'm also very passionate about where I live, the United States Virgin Islands, and I'm intent on making it a better place by being resourceful and keeping our leaders honest. VI Consortium was birthed out of said desire, hopefully my efforts bear fruit. Reach me at [email protected]

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