Mugshot of Ryan Branch. By. THE VIRGIN ISLANDS POLICE DEPARTMENT
ST. CROIX — Detectives with the VIPD's Criminal Investigation Bureau/ Major Crime Unit on Saturday arrested 19-year-old Ryan Branch in connection with the homicide case of Milton Gordon, a harmless, homeless man. The homicide sparked an outcry in the Virgin Islands.
According to the police department, the arrest took place at the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport upon Branch's return to the island of St. Croix.
Following his apprehension, Branch was formally charged with first-degree murder. A bail amount was set at $1 million which he could not post, leading to his booking, processing, and subsequent transportation to the John Bell Correctional Facility.
An advised of rights hearing has been scheduled for Monday, February 12.
The case traces back to the early hours of April 2, 2023, when at 3:17 a.m., 911 dispatchers received Shot Spotter notifications signaling shots fired on Company Street, Christiansted, near the Divi Divi Fabric Store. Responding officers discovered an adult black male, later identified as Milton Gordon, also known as Bobo, deceased on the sidewalk with multiple bullet wounds. Gordon, also a veteran, was pronounced dead at the scene by Emergency Medical Services.
The breakthrough in the investigation came with the aid of the community, leading detectives to identify Elijah Spencer and Ryan Branch as the perpetrators. The investigation revealed that Spencer and Branch lured Gordon to their location, where they fatally shot him without provocation and left his body on the sidewalk.
The arrest of Elijah Spencer occurred on May 2, 2023 at 5:00 a.m., as part of Operation “No Respect” conducted by members of the Criminal Investigation and Special Operation Bureaus. Spencer was also charged with first-degree murder.
Complicating the investigation was an incident on April 21, 2023, where both suspects, Branch and Spencer, sustained injuries in a vehicle accident. Branch's injuries were severe enough to necessitate airlift evacuation for medical treatment.
The arrest of Ryan Branch marks the final apprehension in the tragic homicide of Milton Gordon, bringing the case closer to a judicial resolution.