Stacie Schjang was killed by a stray bullet that struck her in her home on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022. By VIA FACEBOOK
Former Governor Kenneth Mapp has issued a statement following the untimely and unfortunate passing of Stacie Schjang. Ms. Schjang, 46, who was killed by a single stray bullet that struck her while in her bedroom at her home in Peter's Rest Thursday morning, was close to the former governor and worked in his administration.
The former governor spoke highly of Ms. Schjang, who he said was part of his inner circle. Before her death Thursday, they were planning activities for her next trip to Florida.
"We are all devastated by this tragic loss," Mr. Mapp wrote on Facebook Thursday afternoon. "Stacie with her radiant smile was a warm and beautiful person. Just days ago, she and I were planning our activities for her next visit to central Florida just weeks away. I was so looking forward to spending time with my dear friend. I'm hurt, I'm angry and I'm devastated. My deepest sympathies and prayers go out to Mike, Helen, Dave, Henry, Mickey and the entire Schjang family. Stacie was a wonderful part of my inner circle. I will miss our good times together."
Other notable Virgin Islanders also shared moments they experienced with Ms. Schjang, including Oran Roebuck, senior vice president and division manager of the Virgin Islands Region of Banco Popular. "Today I lost my beautiful, loving, generous, joyful friend," Ms. Roebuck wrote on Facebook Thursday. "My camping buddy, fellow gamer, Jr. bowler family, always up for a cooking challenge and overall fun lover. Her life was taken without reason and her family & friends are left with memories. I’m heartbroken, angry and confused. Why did this happen? Why are we not safe in our own homes? Why has our community not come forward and named the cowards. How many must die???? God please give our community the courage to do what is right and the strength to heal." She ended with the hashtag, "JusticeforStacie".
Jamilla Russell, a radio personality and legislative director for the Office of Senate President Donna Frett-Gregory, said she considered Ms. Schjang a sister. Sharing an image of Ms. Schjang on Facebook, she wrote, "My sister was sadly and tragically taken away today. May all be given the strength needed to endure. My heart aches for my chosen family."
Facebook on Thursday was flooded with comments from Virgin Islanders who knew Ms. Schjang, sharing memories and expressing sadness. Former Senator Neville James said, "This Crucian gem, gone because of the senseless stupidity that is gun violence. Never to be forgotten though. Rest In Peace."
Ms. Schjang was pronounced dead Thursday morning after a stray bullet from a shooting on the road separating Peter's Rest from Castle Coakley, just south of the El Sol Bar and Restaurant entered her home and struck her in the upper body while she was in her room near a window, according to the police department.
V.I.P.D. Communications Director Glen Dratte said the 911 Emergency Call Center received a call from a concerned resident at about 7:45 a.m. reporting discharging of shots in the Castle Coakley area. A second call came in at about 8:10 a.m. reporting discharging of shots in the same area. The 911 Emergency Call Center then received a third call at about 8:12 a.m., this time from a family member of a female victim, who said the victim was found in her home with a single gunshot wound to the upper body.
V.I.P.D. officers and Emergency Medical Technicians responded to the scene, where the victim was pronounced dead on arrival.
During a press briefing Thursday afternoon, Police Commander Lt. Naomi Joseph said there were two vehicles in the Castle Coakley area, including a white car whose occupant or occupants were shooting at a brown vehicle at the front. "We need help identifying the occupants of the vehicle and the vehicle itself. So I'm asking you, if you were on the route in Castle Coakley or you were on Peter's Rest Road, or Queen Mary Highway whether east or west from the Sion Farm intersection, we need footage from eight o'clock this morning down to 8:30 a.m. so we can see who, what, what they were wearing, who they were — we need help," Comdr. Joseph said.
Police Commissioner Ray Martinez, who flew to St. Croix from St. Thomas Thursday morning following the homicide, visited with the Schjang family before the press briefing. Asked by the Consortium to relay to the public his experience visiting with grieving family members, the commissioner said he oftentimes experience hurt. "There's nothing that you can truly tell a family that is grieving for the sudden loss of a loved one, especially a loved one whose life is taken senselessly from them for pure ignorance," a visibly emotional Martinez said.
Putting aside political correctness, the commissioner chided the perpetrators of violent crimes, stating, "These bunch of punks on our streets that continue to carry out these acts, it's high time that we cut them off at the knees."