Greenland resident Hasani Frett, 37, was charged with the murder of an unidentified man who succumbed to gunshot wounds following a shooting near the House of Assembly building in Road Town early Sunday morning, police said Tuesday.
Mr. Frett was charged with murder, inflicting grievous bodily harm, and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life, according to the Police Information Office. A female also sustained gunshot wounds at a separate location early Sunday morning, police said, adding the same day that the “two incidents have not been linked so far.”
Police did not identify the location of the woman’s shooting, but they said she is being treated for a leg wound at the Dr. D. Orlando Smith Hospital. Detectives are asking anyone who may know the identity of the man killed on Sunday to come forward.
The National Security Council, which held an emergency meeting on Monday, announced that it has greenlighted a proposal to offer a $20,000 reward for information leading to the successful prosecution of offenders for the Sunday shooting or another killing earlier this month.
On Feb. 6, 42-year-old Yan Edwards, who was facing a murder charge for a 2011 killing, succumbed to gunshot wounds he sustained in a shooting at Parham Town in East End. Mr. Edwards, of Long Look, was seated outside a “business establishment” at around 6 p.m. when he was shot, and he was later pronounced dead at the scene, according to police, who did not name the business. No one else was injured in the incident, police said.
On Monday, the NSC condemned the two murders, which it described as “brazen.”
On Tuesday, the police also said that over the previous week, officers had been making their rounds and conducting stop-and-search operations throughout the East End and Road Town areas in light of the recent murders and separate reports of gunfire. The police said about 30 people were searched and quantities of marijuana and cocaine were recovered. People were also reported for several traffic violations, the police noted.
During its Monday meeting, the NSC also discussed the current security situation in the territory. The body was briefed by Deputy Police Commissioner Jacqueline Vanterpool on the steps the police are taking to reassure the community, including increased patrolling, the agency stated.
The NSC added that it has recognised that people may have witnessed these brazen crimes, one of which was committed during daylight. Therefore, the council noted, any information that can be provided to the authorities may be helpful. “Council reassures the public that the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force is using every available tool to bring criminals to justice and to arrest the current trend of escalating crime involving firearms,” the body stated.
The NSC also noted its commitment to a “zero-tolerance policy” on crime. The council is chaired by Governor John Rankin, and other members include Premier Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley and Deputy Premier Kye Rymer. Attorney General Dawn Smith and Police Commissioner Mark Collins serve as ex-officio members.