ST. CROIX — A female bartender was shot to death in a downtown Christiansted bar on Thursday night, V.I.P.D. Public Information Officer Glen Dratte confirmed to The Consortium Friday morning.
According to Mr. Dratte, at about 8:48 p.m. Thursday, a male individual entered the Peace and Love Bar in downtown Christiansted and opened fire on the female bartender before running out of the establishment. The bartender, according to police, was struck multiple times and died on the scene. There were patrons at the bar when the incident occurred, Mr. Dratte said.
The bartender, a Hispanic female, was identified by next of kin as 44-year-old Juana Mateo Perez. The homicide death of Ms. Perez brings St. Croix’s total for January to 5.
In a recent release, Governor Albert Bryan said the community should take a more active role in combating criminal activity. “I want to also underscore the important need for us all, to take greater steps to take back our community. It will take courage and painstaking measures to make the changes we need to address the problems of lawlessness in our neighborhoods, but we can and will if we all step up and do our part,” Mr. Bryan said.
Mr. Bryan has yet to name a V.I.P.D. commissioner-nominee, and gave no indication, aside from stating he would name his entire cabinet in 90 days, as to when the police commissioner would be announced. Currently, Jason Marsh is acting V.I.P.D. commissioner. Mr. Bryan did say that the V.I.P.D. launched investigations into the surging homicide situation, all of which have occurred on St. Croix in the first three weeks of 2019.
“While I assure you that our Virgin Islands Police Department has launched immediate investigations into these incidents and are working to bring those responsible to justice, I also want to assure you that our administration is being proactive in addressing the issues at the root of our persisting problem with violent in our community,” the governor said.
If you know the individual responsible for this crime and have information on his whereabouts, the V.I.P.D. is asking you to send a tip to Crime Stoppers USVI here, where you identity will remain anonymous. You may also contact the V.I.P.D. with information at 340-778-2211.