Suspect in St. Croix Nightclub Shooting Arrested at St. Thomas Airport

VIPD patrol car. (Linda Morland photo)
After a violent encounter at the Frontline Bar, police said the whereabouts of a suspected gunman became unclear. (Source file photo by Linda Morland)

Quick thinking by police on St. Croix helped to capture a suspect believed to have shot two people Monday night in Kingshill. Detectives say they caught up with him at Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas the next day.

By Wednesday, accused suspect Deroy Smithen was ordered held on $150,000 cash bail by a magistrate in St. Thomas’ Superior Court. Magistrate Paula Norkadis noted two restraining orders had been filed against Smithen by one of the two alleged victims.

“The court will note that you are under two court restraining orders from St. Croix … The court finds that you do not obey orders. The court finds that you are an extreme danger, not only to the two alleged victims but to the entire community,” Norkadis said.

Assistant Attorney General Brenda Scales added that the government could not assure Smithen’s safety from possible retaliation if he was granted pretrial release.

Witness accounts given to authorities and security camera images showed an altercation at the Frontline Bar & Grill between two men. An argument turned into a fistfight; the flash of a gun muzzle appeared in the recording. Two people fled the scene.

Prior to the altercation, witnesses told police that one of the men involved was spending time having drinks, meeting friends, and playing pool at the club. When the alleged assailant entered, they said, tension overtook the scene.

Investigators caught up with the pair who fled at Juan F. Luis Hospital. Court records said one victim sustained multiple gunshot wounds; a single shot to the arm wounded the second one.

Further investigation gave detectives reason to place a hold on Smithen’s file kept by the National Crime Information Center. That action may have helped alert airport officials after Smithen’s whereabouts became unclear.

Presented with details of the incident, restraining orders and a criminal record, Norkadis upheld charges of first-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault, third-degree assault, first-degree reckless endangerment, disturbance of the peace by fighting and related weapons offenses, including unauthorized possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence.

No further hearings were set at the end of Wednesday’s appearance. That would be left up to the court on St. Croix, the magistrate said.