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1 Man Injured, 1 Man Dead After Profit Hills Shootings; CIB Investigating: VIPD

KINGSHILL — An off-duty officer reported hearing shots fired at Profit Hills Apartments (Harvey Project area) at 8:48 p.m. Monday, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.

Upon making a check, officers discovered shell casings and also detected blood at the scene, according to the VIPD.. 

Hospital security officers at Juan F. Luis Hospital reported a gunshot victim arrived at JFL by private vehicle at 9:00 p.m., police said.

By 9:07 p.m., detectives at the hospital reported another gunshot victim arrived with gunshot injuries in a private vehicle. 

Andres “Pankake” Ponce, Jr., 23, of Estate Kingshill, was pronounced dead by a JFL emergency room medical attendant from multiple gunshot wounds to his body, VIPD Communication Director Glen Dratte said, adding that Pontes’ parents were notified as next of kin,

1 Man Injured, 1 Man Dead After Profit Hills Shootings; CIB Investigating: VIPD
Andres “Pankake” Ponce, Jr.’s presence on social media

The other male victim was treated for his injuries sustained from the shooting and remains in stable condition, according to Dratte.

Preliminary investigation revealed the shootings took place in two separate locations in the Harvey Project-Machuchal area.

This incident is under active investigation. Anyone with information about this fatal shooting, is asked to please call the CIB at 340-712-6082, the CIB Tip Line at 340-778 4950911 or Crime Stoppers USVI at 1-800-222-8477.

1 Man Injured, 1 Man Dead After Profit Hills Shootings; CIB Investigating: VIPD
Andres Ponce Jr. Facebook profile picture

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This update includes the correct spelling of Andres Ponce, Jr.’s name. The V.I. Free Press regrets the error in the original version.)

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CHS Graduates 156 Students In Modular Gymnasium At Kingshill Campus Today

KINGSHILL — St. Croix’s Central High School held it’s graduation ceremony at the Sprung Gymnasium today.

One hundred fifty-six graduates received their diplomas in front a boisterous crowd of family, friends and loved ones.

CHS Graduates 156 Students In Modular Gymnasium At Kingshill Campus Today

Congratulations to the M.V.P. Class of 2022: “Momentous, Versatile and Prestigious!

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Education Explains Why School Cafeteria Is Being Used For Storage, Rather Than Meals

KINGSHILL — The Department of Education devoted a long, “condescending” exegesis to explain why the cafeteria at the Claude O. Markoe Elementary School is being used for storage space — rather than a space for school children to eat meals.

The VIDE also explained that if any repairs have been made to the “aged” Claude O. Markoe School, then Governor Albert Bryan, Jr. is responsible — and not St. Croix Senator Kurt Vialet.

“West Gyul the Department of Education is pleased to see this important conversation around our aged school facilities taking place on your online platform,” the VIDE said on Facebook. “In our view, this is exactly what community is all about–everyone rallying around our children and our schools. We applaud and welcome it.”

Education Explains Why School Cafeteria Is Being Used For Storage, Rather Than Meals

“The particular issue highlighted in your post is misleading your readers because ongoing repairs are being conducted at the Claude O. Markoe campus on a regular basis (see recent photos in this post from 2021-2022 SY). Furthermore, the cafeteria has been used to house new resources and equipment purchased to enhance the environment and operations of Claude O. Markoe School. Students are safely being served meals on their campus.”

Without question, our school buildings are aged; many operating well beyond their lifecycle of 40 years — in Claude O. Markoe’s case, age 64; thus, there will always be extensive maintenance issues to prioritize until campuses are rebuilt or modernized, as outlined in the link provided below.”

Education Explains Why School Cafeteria Is Being Used For Storage, Rather Than Meals

While we can appreciate the important work of the Legislative Branch of our local government, Senator Kurt Vialet, a former school leader himself, would agree that he had nothing at all to do with helping to move forward “a plan” for Claude O. Markoe’s cafeteria, as your West Gyul post erroneously states. The truth is that the St. Croix District Office of the Insular Superintendent, along with the district’s Maintenance Director, Mr. Davidson Charlemagne, and his capable team of maintenance professionals, had already met with the school’s administration to address the particular issue presented in your post– Senator Kurt Vialet had nothing to do with that discussion. Furthermore, the maintenance team has long established a system to regularly inform school administrators of the work planned for their campuses.”

Education Explains Why School Cafeteria Is Being Used For Storage, Rather Than Meals

“Given his background in Education, Sen. Kurt Vialet is well acquainted with the processes involved in spending funds to address issues on our campuses. We are grateful for the progress made within the last year in the GVI to revamp the territory’s procurement process. No matter how well-intentioned, a senator cannot expedite any maintenance projects on any of our school campuses because projects all follow the same process.

“You should know that in 2019, the Claude O. Markoe School community and members of the St. Croix community, at large, was directly involved in the extensive planning and crafting of the Educational Facility Master Plan–a living, breathing document that will guide the work of constructing new USVI schools or modernizing existing school buildings. We encourage you, and your readers, to carve out some time to visit the www.newschoolsvide.com website to see current plans for Claude O. Markoe and other St. Croix schools–as contributed by members of the Claude O. Markoe family, the Frederiksted community, and the larger St. Croix community, inclusive of current and former elected officials, business owners, parents, students, community activists, education professionals, and the like.

Education Explains Why School Cafeteria Is Being Used For Storage, Rather Than Meals

“Additionally, this February 24, 2022 episode of Recovery in Focus, https://www.facebook.com/wtjx/videos/1042310606629655, is a tremendous resource to learn about the work, the finances, the challenges, the successes, and the plans for the Territory’s schools–including Claude O. Markoe. We encourage you, and your readers, to view it. We are certain you will find it to be very informative.”

“Lastly, we believe that you genuinely care about this community, based on the often uplifting and positive content your platform shares; thus, we know that you would be willing to consult with the Department, firsthand, for factual information regarding its schools and its operations. You may feel free to reach us at public.relations@vide.vi or call (340) 774-0100. It is not the practice of the Department of Education to regularly comment on public opinions. Residents of our community are free to express their ideas. However, when we find that opinions cross the line of dangerously misleading and misinforming the public, it is our duty to provide the appropriate facts.”

Education Explains Why School Cafeteria Is Being Used For Storage, Rather Than Meals

Readers on social media felt that the Department of Education adopted a “condescending tone” when trying to make its points with West Gyul.

“Too many are not speaking out. We thank West Gyul,” Genitta Richards said. “I must say that parents should have been outraged enough to take action. The children deserve better. The food service workers deserve better. The teachers and para professionals deserve better. Let’s do better and demand accountability.”

Education Explains Why School Cafeteria Is Being Used For Storage, Rather Than Meals
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Slithering Snake On Power Line Leads To St. Croix Electrical Outage, Residents Say

CHRISTIANSTED —  A slithering snake caused a power outage on St. Croix Sunday morning, according to eyewitnesses.

At about 6 a.m., a red tail boa constrictor wriggled to the top of the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (WAPA) transmission power lines in an area just outside of Kingshill.

The snakes’s contact with power lines caused a fault that resulted in localized neighborhood power outages on St. Croix.

Joseph Dubery of Christiansted posted these photos Sunday morning of the brown snake poised to gobble up a bird when it alights on to a WAPA power line.

“Say less St. Croix WAPA get cut off today cause by snake not rain another one WTF thanks again PJ and all the linemen that keep us together,” Dubery said. “WAPA man be careful my boy.”

Power lines can be extremely dangerous to snakes and other animals. The Virgin Islands Free Press cares about protecting snakes from electrical lines and we encourage you to call WAPA at (340) 773-2250 and ask the to erect physical guards to discourage snakes from crawling onto your utility poles and power lines.

Meanwhile, the reaction to the serpentine news of St. Croix was predominately anti-snake.

“What the heck is going on I thought they were vanishing out of St Croix. Chupps,” Glenice Marsh said.

“What the snake eating? It fat so till. Why so much snake?” Vida Herbert said.

“Wow,” Pheona Anthony said.

“So why that one is not chopped up? What is wrong with the people of St. Croix? Taking pictures proving what until it swallow someone?” Aura Williams said.

“You go chop it up these snakes are real scary,” Joseph Dubery replied to Aura Williams.

“The WAPA guy was scared, too,” Aura Williams replied to Joseph Dubery.

“The snake is eating macaroni and cheese. LOL,” Jose Luis Cirilo said.

“Is this one too not on St. Croix? The governor said the last one shown wrapped around the (deer emoji) was not on this Island,” Rashida Mohamed said.

“This snake gotta be sluxcing (sic) down by the governor favorite spot Rossie’s!” Donovan Leona said.

“That’s a red tail boa,” Tina Bennett said.

Electrical lines present a significant risk of electrocution to snakes and other animals that crawl, hang, or climb on them. One common scenario that often leads to snakes’ presence on power lines is their search for food.

Birds are a significant food source for many snake species, and it is common for snakes to slither onto electrical lines in pursuit of birds perched on the lines.

Snakes can easily access power lines from the ground through poles or by crawling onto the lines from other high places. Not only does this present a high level of risk for injury to snakes, it is also an easy way to cause a power outage.

Last August, 22,000 people in Jacksonville, Florida, were left without power when a red rat snake crawled into a substation; a snake in Georgia set off a chain reaction when it wiggled into one substation, causing a parallel outage at another; and a snake in Colorado knocked out power to 6,500 customers in four towns, 

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Police Investigate 4 Armed Robberies On St. Croix Saturday; One At The Cemetery

KINGSHILL — Police are investigating four incidents of armed robbery that took place at four different locations on St. Croix Saturday.

At 2:26 p.m., the 911 Emergency Call Center dispatched officers to a residence in White Bay to investigate the first reported robbery, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.

The female victim reported that as she was leaving her residence, an armed slim Black male – wearing a dark face covering, a red shirt, and a black hat – approached her, ordering her out of her white 2005 Toyota Camry, according to the VIPD. The suspect, described as wearing a dark face covering, a red shirt, and a black hat, left the area in the victim’s vehicle.

At 5:38 p.m., the 911 Emergency Call Center received a call of an attempted robbery at the Kingshill Cemetery. Police were told that the suspects drove up in a white car and tried unsuccessfully to rob the victim.

At 6:10 p.m., the 911 Emergency Call Center received a call of a robbery that occurred at 4 p.m. in Estate La Vallee. The male victim reported that the suspects drove up in a white four-door sedan and robbed him of his motor scooter and his backpack. The suspects were described as 5 feet and 5 feet 10 inches tall and speaking with a local accent; wearing dark clothing – shorts, socks, slippers, and their faces covered.

At 6:28 p.m., two more victims visited the Ancilmo Marshall Command police station in Christiansted to report that they were robbed at 4:30 p.m. on Northshore Road. They reported that two Black males exited a white four-door vehicle, pointed guns at them and demanded their valuables. After the victims handed over their mobile phones, the suspects fled the area in their gray 2018 Jeep Wrangler rental.

Shortly after, officers recognized a white four-door Toyota Camry and a motor scooter being operated at a high rate of speed in Estate Morningstar. The officers followed the vehicles to Harbor View Apartments where two black males were seen exiting the vehicle. Officers lost sight of the suspects, but a check of the vehicle found that it was the vehicle stolen from the female victim in White Bay, and the same vehicle used in the other robberies. Officers searched the surrounding area and found the gray Jeep Wrangler that was stolen earlier in the nearby Carib Villas Apartments parking lot.

The investigation into these robberies continues. Anyone with information is asked to call 911, the Crime Tip Line at (340) 778-4950, or Crime Stoppers USVI at (800) 222-TIPS.

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Kingshill Drunk Driver Who Caused Accident In Two Williams Released After Posting $1,000 Bail: VIPD

FREDERIKSTED — A Kingshill-area drunk driver who caused an accident in Two Williams on Saturday night has been released after posting $1,000.00 bail, authorities said.

Luis A. Perez-Soler, 42 of Old Fredensborg, was arrested at 11:57 p.m. Saturday and charged with driving under the influence of an intoxicating liquor, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.

Perez-Soler was operating his vehicle on Queen Mary Highway, in Estate Two Williams, when he was involved in an auto accident, according to the VIPD.

“Officers investigating the accident found that Perez-Soler was driving his vehicle while intoxicated, thereby causing the accident,” VIPD spokesman Toby Derima said. “Perez-Soler was arrested as a result.”

Bail for Perez-Soler was set at $1,000, which he posted. He was released pending his advice-of-rights hearing.

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