BUCK ISLAND BUST! Shooting And Scrum At U.S. National Monument Has FBI, VIPD Investigating Shooting
CHRISTIANSTED — A melee involving scores of people on Buck Island led to a shooting and a high-speed-boat chase on Sunday. No serious injuries were reported.
“A physical altercation with more than 20 individuals broke out on the monument that led to multiple shots being fired,” Acting Park Superintendent Reggie Tiller said. “Immediately after, rangers were involved in a high-speed chase with the suspected persons and vessel.”
A video of the fighting incident released to YouTube on Sunday shows only 10 men involved in a minor scuffle. There are at most three men throwing wild punches and one man was gently wrestled to the sand on the edge of the water.
Buck Island Reef National Monument is managed by the U.S. National Park Service under the aegis of the federal government.
The U.S. Coast Guard searched for several hours before apprehending the driver, who “was taken into custody and booked at local law enforcement facility,” Tiller said.
“The vessel has been seized and inventoried,” the Alabama native said. “The Rangers have recovered a firearm which is believed to be the weapon used. “Currently, we have not received any reports of serious injuries or anyone being shot.”
A gun was recovered from the vessel and an inspection of the firearm revealed that it had been fired recently, Tiller added.
Law enforcement are currently investigating whether the shot fired was at individuals involved in the fight, or into the air. Additionally, investigators are seeking to determine who on the boat fired the weapon, he said.
The suspect in the shooting has not yet been publicly identified by authorities.
Tiller said the National Park Service is working with the Virgin Islands Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Attorney’s Office “to bring forward the correct charges.”
VIPD spokesman Toby Derima referred all questions about the incident to the National Park Service.
Parties and large gatherings are currently banned on Buck Island as part of COVID-19 restrictions.
President John F. Kennedy established Buck Island as a national monument in 1961 to preserve it for scientific and educational interests as “one of the finest marine gardens in the Caribbean Sea.