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SHOOTOUT AT ALTONA WELGUNST: Hector Estrella Jr Admits To Police He Was Involved In Gunplay

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A St. Thomas man was arrested after a report of gunfire on the edge of Frenchtown in downtown alerted police to a problem in the area.

On Thursday, March 9, 2017, Central Dispatch transmitted via radio regarding shots being fired in the area of Altona and Welgunst in the vicinity of Discount Water.

Police conducted an inspection in the vicinity of 178-88 Altona and Welgunst and discovered several shell casings, the Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD) said.

Investigation continued and during an inspection of the area officers discovered a gray Toyota Highlander parked in the area.

During the inspection of the vehicle two firearms were discovered, an AK-47 rifle and 9 mm Glock pistol each containing loaded magazines on the ground of the front passenger side. Officers also discovered a magazine on the front passenger seat in plain view, according to the VIPD.

Police said that the met with Hector Castano Estrella Jr. the operator of the gray Toyota Highlander on Thursday.

Estrella was read his Miranda rights but police said that he waived his rights and gave a statement to them admitting to being involved in a shootout, the VIPD said.

He also admitted to being in possession of the firearms found inside the vehicle he was operating, according to the VIPD.

Castano Estrella, 35,  has been charged with Possession of an Unlicensed Firearm and Illegal Discharge of a Firearm, police said.

Bail for Estrella was set at $25,000.00 as per chart. Unable to post bail, he was remanded to the Bureau of Corrections pending an Advice of Rights hearing.

Anyone having any information about any crimes please contact the Virgin Islands Police Department at (340) 774-2211 or Criminal Investigation Bureau (340) 714-9807. You can also contact Crime Stoppers at 1 (800) 222-8477 or 911.

SHOOTOUT IN BROAD DAYLIGHT: In the Altona and Welgunst near Frenchtown in St. Thomas on Thursday.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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