Police investigate shooting at Estate Paradise near the abandoned Evelyn M. Williams Elementary School By VI CONSORTIUM
ST. CROIX — The 19-year-old woman who was shot on May 15 in Estate Paradise along with her mother as they were in their car believed to be searching for an apartment to rent, has died, the Virgin Islands Police Department has confirmed. The tragic incident brings the territory's homicide count to 22 for the year so far.
According to V.I.P.D. Public Information Officer Toby Derima, the victim was identified as 19-year-old Selena Chitolie.
The family was driving in Estate Paradise in the vicinity of the abandoned Evelyn Williams Elementary School during the afternoon of Friday, May 15 and were said to be looking for an apartment to rent when they were shot at by at least three assailants who investigators believe took a preemptive strike at a vehicle they thought had occupants looking to harm them.
The suspects were in a silver Ford Focus, and investigators were observed on the scene on May 15 retrieving items from the abandoned car. The women, along with a young boy who was not injured by gunfire during the incident, were in a white Chevrolet car.
The mother jumped out of the vehicle screaming after she heard the gunshots, police said. The suspects then realized that the white Chevrolet was occupied by two women and a young boy, prompting the suspects to abandon their car and leave the area on foot. Police arrived on the scene quickly and searched several neighboring communities in an attempt to apprehend the suspects.
On the night of Friday, May 15, police arrested Jiovani Smith, age 20 of Mount Pleasant and Calijah Brewley, age 19 of Marley Homes, and detained a 17-year-old-minor in connection with the shooting. When initially arrested, the adult suspects were charged with first-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault, first-degree reckless endangerment, carrying a firearm openly or concealed, possession of ammunition, and discharging or aiming a firearm. Mr. Derima said on Wednesday that new charges were being pursued.
Detectives are urging anyone with information in this or other crimes to call 911, the Crime TipLine at (340) 778-4950, or Crime Stoppers USVI at (800) 222-TIPS, where your anonymous tip can earn you a reward. You may also send your tip to Crime Stoppers USVI online here.