FREDERIKSTED — Two men were shot to death and two men were injured after gun violence erupted at two different locations on St. Croix late Friday night.
The first incident took place about 10:30 p.m. after the 911 Emergency Call Center got a report of gunshots fired near Old Fredensborg close to the Kingshill Cemetary at mid-island.
Police on the scene found two men with gunshot wounds to their bodies. The dead man, who was later identified by authorities, was Jensen Epstan, 24. The man who survived is said to be 41 years old.
“A weapon was recovered on the scene and we’re still investigating the incident,” Police Commissioner Delroy Richards Sr. said on Saturday.
The second shooting took place about 11:41 p.m., when police received a report from the 911 Emergency Call Center of a fusillade of automatic weapon gunfire near the St. Croix Mutual Homes in Grove Place.
Richards said that because police were on patrol in the area, they were able to immediately respond to the scene.
When police arrived they found a man, later identified as Randy Tang Yuk, 29, of St. Croix Mutual Homes with no vital signs.
Tang Yuk was transported to the morgue at the Juan F. Luis Hospital.
Police were notified by hospital officials that two other men involved in the shooting incident at St. Croix Mutual Homes arrived by private vehicle to the emergency room after being injured.
One man was treated for gunshot wounds to the back, while the other man claimed that he “stumbled and hurt his knee” while attempting to flee the gunfire.
Richards said two guns were discovered by police on the scene in Mutual Homes. Along with the guns, authorities also found multiple shell casings, some from handguns and others from what Richards described as a “high-power weapon, could be an AK-47, could be something else, but it’s a high-power weapon.”
Concerned citizens took to social media on Friday night with some saying that the gunfire at Mutual Homes woke them up.
Police have increased patrols in the Mutual Homes area of Grove Place after 24-year-old police recruit Lyana Serieux and her two sons Jeremiah, 5, and Jordan, 10, were murdered in late July.
They have said privately that they were expecting “retaliatory violence” after the shooting-strangulation deaths, but stopped short of linking Friday’s shootings to the unsolved triple murder.
“I have not seen any correlation to the incident with the three individuals that were found deceased,” Richards said. “I don’t really see any connection. A lot of folks traveling to Mutual Homes either to visit friends or to settle scores, but we have not linked it to that case.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this news article reported that Randy Tang Yuk was 19 years old; the Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD) originally reported that he was 19 when he was reported murdered, but later recanted and stated that he was actually 10 years older at the time of his death.