V.I. Police Department officers last week arrested the suspect in the Sunday, November 28, shooting in Estate Pine Peace which sent a 21-year-old victim to the hospital with two gunshot wounds.
Officers arrested St. Thomas native Niguel Williams, 26, who had been living in Estate Contant, on Wednesday, December 8.
Williams was charged with first degree assault, possession of an unlicensed firearm and reckless endangerment for the non-fatal shooting after being positively identified, according to VIPD spokesperson Melody Rames.
“Williams was positively identified as the person who had an argument with another male and subsequently shot him in his lower left abdomen,” said Rames. “A bullet also grazed the victim from his right temple to his right earlobe.”
The suspect was advised of his rights before V.I. Superior Court Magistrate Judge Alan Smith on Thursday, December 9. According to the affidavit supporting his arrest, written by VIPD Detective Cassandra Vincent, the shooting victim was having an argument with Williams around 8:50 p.m. in Estate Pine Peace, when Williams shot him, according to a report in the V.I. Daily News.
Williams pointed a handgun at the victim and fired four shots, the first of which grazed the victim’s temple with the third piercing his abdomen, according to the report.
During the advice of rights hearing, V.I. Assistant Attorney General Brenda Scales urged Smith to keep Williams’ bail at $95,000 since he was a danger to the community, according to the V.I. Daily News report.
“After shooting the victim in the head, he struck him in the abdomen,” Scales was quoted in the daily newspaper. “He showed his intent to kill.”
While Smith did deem Williams a danger to the community, the magistrate judge lowered the man’s bail to $75,000 and allowed him to post 25 percent in order to secure his release, according to the report.
“One who goes about in the community with an unlicensed firearm does present a danger to the community,” Smith was quoted in the V.I. Daily News.
While VIPD officials had identified Williams the day of the shooting, detectives worked to build an airtight case against the man before making an arrest, explained VIPD spokesperson Rames.
“St. John Deputy Chief Darren Foy said the suspect was identified by police the day of the shooting, however in order to build an airtight case against the suspect detectives opted to secure a court ordered arrest warrant as well as conduct other investigative procedures before securing the arrest,” said Rames. “In the meantime Williams was kept under police surveillance, Deputy Chief Foy said.”
Foy credited community members for their active involvement in the case, Rames added.
“The Deputy Chief thanked the St. John community for the information and tips that were passed onto the police department,” said Rames. “He also thanked detectives and officers assigned to Leander Jurgen Command for bringing closure to this case.”
Williams was scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday, December 16, in V.I. Superior Court.