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Smithfield Man Lured Into Ambush Shooting At Project, Bystander Shot In The Back

FREDERIKSTED — An innocent female bystander was shot in the back after “several men” started damaging a man’s vehicle in a Smithfield housing project to lure him into a shooting ambush on Wednesday morning, authorities said. The shooting victim remains in stable condition today after undergoing surgery at the hospital.

The 911 Emergency Call Center received multiple reports of shots being fired in the Walter I.M. Hodge Pavilion about 8:18 a.m. Wednesday, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.

Several witnesses reported that several black males in a vehicle entered into the housing community and began damaging a vehicle, according to the VIPD.

“According to the witnesses, the owner of the vehicle, later identified as 22-year-old Jahamon Bruce of Walter I.M. Hodge Pavilion, appeared on the scene with a firearm, at which time the males who damaged the vehicle began shooting at him,” VIPD spokesman Toby Derima said. “Bruce returned fire, prompting the group of males to leave the area in their vehicle.”

A female bystander received a gunshot wound to the back and was transported to the Juan F. Luis Hospital & Medical Center via private vehicle, according to Derima.

The victim underwent surgery and was listed in stable condition, he said.

Bruce openly admitted to detectives that he fired the gun and was placed under arrest around 10:30 a.m., charged with carrying of firearm openly or concealed, Derima said.

Bail for Bruce was set at $50,000. Unable to post bail, he was remanded to the custody of the Virgin Islands Bureau of Corrections (BOC) pending an advice-of-rights hearing.

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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everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling.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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