FREDERIKSTED — The second of two suspects charged in the “no respect” shooting death of a homeless veteran last April was arrested as he landed at the St. Croix airport on Saturday.
Ryan Branch, 19, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, the Virgin Islands Police Department said. He was jailed with bail set at $1 million.
Branch and co-defendant 22-year-old Elijah Spencer were riding in the same vehicle they were injured in a car accident 19 days after the April 2, 2023 murder of 66-year-old Milton “Bobo” Gordon on Company Street near Divi Divi Fabrics.
Divi Divi Fabrics on Company Street in Christiansted is in the large yellow building on the left of this photograph.
Branch was airlifted off-island for emergency medical treatment for his injuries. He was flown home Saturday to face charges once he was cleared medically to fly.
The two young men face justice thanks largely to “community assistance” and diligent police work that allowed investigators to uncover the identity of the perpetrators of Gordon’s fatal shooting.
“The investigation revealed that Elijah Spencer and Ryan Branch called Mr. Gordon until he walked up to where they were and at that point, they shot and killed him without provocation and left him on the sidewalk,” VIPD Communications Director Glen Dratte said.
Soencer was arrested May 2, 2023 as part of “Operation No Respect.” He was charged with first-degree murder, first-degree assault, third-degree assault, reckless endangerment, unauthorized possession of a firearm and unauthorized possession of ammunition, according to the VIPD.
VIPD mug shot of Ryan Branch, 19, of St. Croix.
Detectives with the VIPD;s Criminal Investigation Bureau and Major Crime Unit were there to take Branch into official custody as he landed at the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport on Saturday.
Branch was formally advised of his Miranda Rights, booked and processed. Unable to post $1 million bail, he was transferred to the custody of the Bureau of Corrections at the Golden Grove prison.
He is scheduled for an advice-of-rights hearing in Superior Court tomorrow.
The case began at 3:17 a.m. on April 2, 2023 when 911 dispatchers got ShotSpotter notifications of shots fired on Company Street, Christiansted near Divi Divi Fabrics store.
When officers arrived on the scene they saw the lifeless body of Gordon lying on the sidewalk with multiple bullet wounds over various parts of his body.
Emergency Medical Services did not detect any vital signs on Gordon when they arrived.
VIPD mug shot of Elijah Spencer, 22, of St. Croix.
Bobo Gordon was known to the St. Croix community as a “harmless, homeless” veteran, Dratte said previously.
The investigation was fueled by the St. Croix community’s valuable tips and as a result detectives uncovered the identity of the perpetrators.
The investigation revealed that Elijah Spencer and Ryan Branch called Mr. Gordon to where they were and shot and killed him without provocation and left him on the sidewalk.
On April 21, 2023, Branch and Spencer were injured in a motor vehicle accident. Co-conspirator Ryan Branch was airlifted off-island for treatment of to his injuries.
On May 2, 2023, at 5:00 a.m., members of the Criminal Investigation Bureau and Special Operations Bureau executed Operation “No Respect” at Elijah Spencer’s residence which resulted in his formal arrest on a charge of first-degree murder.