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Contant Knolls Man With Illegal Gun Surprised By Shakedown Christmas Eve

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A St. Thomas man was found with an unregistered gun in his home during a police operation on Christmas Eve morning, authorities said.

Leroy Cornelius 44, of Contant Knolls, was arrested at 10:30 a.m. and charged with constructive possession of an unlicensed firearm, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.

Members of the VIPD Special Operations Bureau, K-9 Unit, Special Response Team, Criminal Investigation Bureau and Forensics Unit executed a Search Warrant on a residence in Contant Knolls, according to the VIPD.

“During the execution of the warrant, a loaded handgun was discovered. Cornelius was arrested as a result,” VIPD spokesman Toby Derima said.

Bail for Cornelius was set at $25,000. Unable to post bail, he was turned over to the custody of the Bureau of Corrections, pending his Advice of Rights hearing.

Some of the reaction on social media to this Virgin Islands Free Press news article was sympathetic to the accused.

“With a good lawyer fella could beat this case,” Bin Hameen said. “LOCAL LAWS DO NOT SUPERCEDE THE CONSTITUTION…. Right to bare arms and castle doctrine beats any local law ! .. somebody ratted him out if you ask me.”

All individuals listed as arrested or charged with a crime in this report are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling.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