The man gunned down shortly after the Adult Parade on Saturday on St. Thomas may have asked his killer to wait before moving his car until the streets were clear, eyewitnesses said Sunday.
Alrick Thomas, 54, was sweeping up Carnival debris when he was shot down around 8:30 Saturday evening, shortly after the parade had ended. Police officers and other government employees were asking drivers, many of whom had parked haphazardly along the narrow Charlotte Amalie corridors, to delay leaving until people and trash were off the roads.
Witnesses said Thomas may have asked 21-year-old Dion Johnson to delay driving on Kirke Staede, which runs from the Lutheran Church to Fort Christian, until the streets were cleared. Johnson allegedly replied with gunfire, spraying as many as 10 bullets into the crowded post-parade streets, witnesses said. Parents grabbed their children and ran. Others dove into their cars to hide. No one but Thomas was physically hurt, police said.
Johnson tried to hide in the crowd, witnesses said, but police were on him almost immediately and threw him to the ground.
Emergency medical technicians found Thomas dead on arrival, according to the V.I. Police Department report.
Johnson was charged with first-degree murder. Bail was set at $1 million and he was remanded to the Bureau of Corrections before his advice of rights hearing, according to the report.
Sen. Kenneth L. Gittens, who chairs the Legislature’s Committee on Homeland Security, Justice and Public Safety, congratulated Virgin Islanders for a “largely incident-free Carnival celebration,” saying the brazen killing of Thomas “tragically marred” Carnival.
“We were so close to having a nearly incident-free celebration before this took place,” Gittens said. “I appreciate the quick response of the law enforcement community and other first responders on the scene. I hope that justice will be swift. My condolences go out to the family, friends, and co-workers of the victim.”
But Thomas’ slaying was not the only illegal gun or violent crime event of Carnival.
Two young men were arrested after J’ouvert on Thursday with unlicensed handguns: 26-year-old Shamoi Allamby and 22-year-old Shemar Coward. Neither had shot anyone but both brought guns to Carnival events, according to police.
The same night as Thomas’ killing, another man survived a stabbing in the stomach and lung near the Legislature bus stop, the VIPD reported. Police said he knew his attacker.
And then away from Charlotte Amalie, four men and a woman were arrested Saturday for, police say, goofing around the Limetree Beach Road area with guns. Neighbors called police to say people were in the street with no shirts on and carrying guns. Officers arrived at the Tiffany Lane location at around 8:30 to find a Jeep Wrangler with many firearms, according to police.
Isaiah Murray, 35, Jelani Hodge, 30, Raheem Murray, 28, Taheem Jarvis, 21, and Giovanna Roumou, 18, were charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, and possession of ghost gun with no serial number, according to police.
Bail was set at $200,000, each.
Thomas’ death marks the eighth homicide on St. Thomas since the start of the year, and the 15th for the territory, according to the Source Homicide List.*
*The Source Homicide List is a chronological log of the homicides recorded in 2023 in the U.S. Virgin Islands, as reported by the VIPD. Cases are broken down by island. While this listing is based on VIPD reports, the Source does not include suicides or vehicular homicides in its listing, which the police and some other media do. This can lead to a discrepancy in the number of incidents reported.