More Details Emerge In Officer-Involved Homicide

A vehicle pulled up outside Manuel Bar in Contant late Thursday night. Someone got out with a handgun and started shooting into the building, striking four people inside. An off-duty police officer at the bar drew his service weapon and returned fire. When the chaos ended, a man outside lay dead, police said.

Ambulances brought the four injured bar patrons, a woman, and three men, to Roy Lester Schneider Regional Medical Center for treatment.

That’s all that is for certain about the incident until the V.I.P.D.’s Major Crimes Unit completes their investigation, said St. Thomas/St. John/Water Island Chief of Police Barrington Thomas Sr. He added the possibility of F.B.I assistance.

Late Friday, Thomas said investigators were working to determine if the dead man, identified as 41-year-old Henry Richards, Jr., was the shooter and whether the off-duty officer’s bullets were those that killed him. They were also investigating how many times the officer shot and whether anyone else inside the bar had weapons, and if so, if they returned fire as well. Police were also investigating who the occupants of the vehicle were.

Thomas said the officer in question was a veteran member of the V.I.P.D. who has now been placed on administrative leave with pay.

“He simply engaged the shooter to protect himself and the other customers within the establishment,” the police chief said.

A nearly identical incident happened at this same bar two weeks earlier, Thomas said, adding V.I.P.D. is watching the area closely.