CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Three men and an underage teen were arrested early Sunday after residents of Paul M. Pearson Garden called police and reported that the group was playing with firearms and that two of the suspects pointed their weapons at officers, authorities said..
In Superior Court Monday, Magistrate Judge Paula Norkaitis said the situation could have easily ended in violence or death, and “the court is very thankful that we’re not looking at a homicide charge here.”
Asean Lawrence, 22, Lesroy Nisbett, 20, and Trevorn Simmonds, 24, were arrested and charged with aiding and abetting first- and third-degree assault; carrying or using a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence; constructive possession of an unlicensed firearm with an obliterated serial number within 1,000 feet of a housing community; first-degree reckless endangerment; disobeying a lawful order; and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.
The minor has not been publicly identified because he has not yet been charged as an adult.
At 2:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 13, 2022, officers of the Zone A Command, Intel Unit and the Virgin Islands Port Authority were conducting sector patrols in the Long Bay area when Information was received that at Building B of Paul M. Pearson Garden there were several males dressed in all black clothing wearing masks and playing with guns.
Officers responded and heard gunshots, and as they rounded the corner of a building police found themselves facing four suspects, each carrying a gun, according to the VIPD probable cause fact sheet.
Police ordered the men to drop the weapons, and two ran up the staircase while two others “stopped and intentionally pointed their gun at the other officer and I in the entrance of the archway,” according to the sworn affidavit.
The VIPD recovered four firearms from the males after they were apprehended, police said.
Many people on social media defended the accused young men, stating that some of them were gainfully employed.
“You didn’t find any guns on them!!! You found them in a empty and locked apartment,” Cai George said. “You guys had to call the V.I.F.D. to broke [sic] the door down. The parents of all these young men was present. A officer said they was leaving them go. What happened? It’s stripes you looking officer Connor. Not from these young men tho. You mess with the wrong set of kids.”
Bail was set at $175,000; for Lawrence, Simmonds, and Nisbett. Unable to post bail, all three males were remanded to the Bureau of Corrections pending their Advice of Rights hearings. The minor was taken into protective custody by the Juvenile Bureau, pending his Advice of Rights hearing before the Family Court.
“People are mad as hell right now, and I do not blame them, because I am too, but we will remain persistent in our efforts keeping our communities safe,” Police Commissioner Ray Martinez said. “I thank my officers who are there every day, for their dedication mitigating this violence in the territory. The VIPD will continue to go after the criminal element, to arrest perpetrators of violent crimes and take illegal firearms from off our streets. This community has had enough and the VIPD will fully prosecute to extent of the law.”