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Crimestoppers Has $15K Reward For Information About Fort Frederik Shooting; Gittens Asks Witnesses To Talk

FREDERIKSTED — St. Croix Senator Kenneth Gittens has once again denounced the spate of violence that has held our community and law-abiding citizens hostage. He said the sequence of violent events that unfolded Sunday night at Fort Frederik beach on underscores three concerns he has repeatedly raised this term.

“These events renew my calls for increased police presence and swift arrest for disorderly conduct in the public streets …. and reminding our community that it is time to stop protecting the small number of individuals with criminal behavior who are creating havoc by coming forward,” Gittens said.

Reports of the gunfire that broke out in the middle of a densely populated beach event Sunday night sent “shockwaves through the territory.”

“This was a family event, with many children present out enjoying the long days of summer,” Gittens said. “To hear some of the stories of how the barrage of gunshots rang out and how people had to run or drop on the ground and the reports of how others huddled and hid under vehicles to avoid being struck by bullets brought tears to my eyes because the trauma of being in such an atmosphere is real.”

Not long before the shootings occurred, Senator Gittens said he saw that videos of several fights at the event had been circulating via social media.

He said it was unacceptable that dozens of people recorded the street brawl and no one stepped in to quell the fracas.

More troubling, Gittens said, was that there have been no reports of arrests of those fighting and that additional police should have been dispatched to the area at that point to start winding down the event.

The St. Croix Senator, who spent much of his career in law enforcement, is calling on the hundreds of people who were in the area to make it their civic and moral responsibility to speak with police and tell them what they know about what occurred Sunday evening.

“Today most of you can tell stories of how you ran for your life or how you grabbed your children and sought refuge from the hail of gunfire with total strangers,” he said. “But with these thugs on our street, there is no telling when or where they will strike again and if anyone will be as fortunate the next time.”

Meanwhile, the Virgin Islands Police Department said that it is teaming up with Crimestoppers USVI, offering a $15,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest in connection with the shooting at Fort Frederik beach on Sunday.

Gittens said anyone who has information about serious crimes should call 911, Crimestoppers USVI at 1-800-222-8477 or talk to a police officer they trust.

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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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