Tourist Attacked by Teenager Is Pushing for Awareness, Late-Night Transportation

The tourist who was attacked last month by a shovel-wielding teenager in an area of Cruz Bay is urging increased awareness of crime in Love City — and late-night taxi service.

The victim of the latest assault, who asked to be identified only as Don, said he is happy with the V.I. Police Department’s response to his attack, despite an on-line report stating the contrary.

“I am extremely disappointed with how they painted the story,” said Don of the on-line report.

Don explained he is not attempting to discourage tourists from coming to the territory, as the on-line news forum stated.

“My demeanor at this point is not one of, ‘Don’t go to St. John,’” he said. “I hope people realize that I am not starting a campaign to get as many people as I can to boycott traveling to the Virgin Islands.”

Better Transportation Options
Instead, Don hopes to bring change through his experience, including providing better late-night transportation options, he said.

“I think the bars need to close earlier or the taxis need to be available later,” he said. “I’d like to see some changes, or some information provided to tourists reminding them to watch where they are going at night.”

“Tourists need to know the hours that transportation is available, and not to walk downtown late at night,” Don added. “The taxi services need to be better coordinated with the timing of the bars and restaurants.”

Don was attacked in the area of St. Ursula’s Church sometime after 2 a.m. after he left The Quiet Mon Pub. He was walking back to the Westin at the suggestion of a Quiet Mon bartender, when the attack occurred.

The latest incident was the second brutal assault in the area in recent years. Then-St. John resident Gary O’Day was attacked by several young men in the same area in broad daylight in April 2002, suffering severe head injuries after being struck by a rock and kicked off a retaining wall across from the Texaco station.

O’Day left the island for treatment of his injuries and has never returned.

Following the most recent attack, the victim sent a letter to several government officials seeking a resolution.

Threat To Territory’s Economy
“On behalf of the people of the Virgin Islands, I offer my sincerest apology for this unfortunate incident,” said VIPD Commissioner Elton Lewis in a written response to Don’s letter. “I do not take this matter lightly. Any type of criminal activity undermines the quality of life for all of us, residents and tourists alike.”

“I am especially concerned about criminal activities that affect our visitors, as this poses a great threat to the economic fabric of the territory,” Lewis added.

A suspect was brought to Leander Jurgen Command immediately following the attack, but the victim was not able to positively identify the suspect as his attacker, according to Lewis’ letter.

No Memory of Identifying Suspect
“I remember coming back to the station, sitting on the curb, kind of tilting my head and blood was dripping pretty steadily,” said Don. “If they brought someone for me to identify, it would have been in this time period.”

“I have no concept of time from when I sat down on the curb,” Don said. “I don’t even know if they lifted me up, or if I stepped on to the gurney.”

“Understandably so, I was a little out of it,” he added.

Don said he believes he would be able to positively identify his attacker, but the police have not brought forth any more suspects.

“Yes, I could identify the kid,” he said. “If the suspect they brought to the station when I was there was about 12-15 years old and he’s out at two in the morning, I have to imagine he knows who else is running around in that area. He should be a person of interest, but he certainly wasn’t the kid who hit me.”

Pity for Attacker
“I would have remembered him,” Don added.

Don appeared intoxicated and had alcohol on his breath, according to the police report, a claim that Don does not deny.

“I don’t believe the police are trying to present it as, ‘This guy was a drunken tourist who was using extremely poor judgement, and now he is angry and wants vindication,’” he said. “That’s really not the case. I almost pity the person who attacked me.”

“It’s sad that someone has that much anger and hatred in them; it’s inexplicable to me,” Don added.

Don does not believe he appeared intoxicated enough to look like an easy target, he said.

“I admit to drinking that night,” said Don. “But I still had the state of mind to offer my watch and my wallet, and to regain my footing after being hit in the head and knocked to my knees numerous times. I was able to run to the police station and to describe these guys in such detail.”

“Was I stumbling down the street (before the attack)?” Don continued. “Absolutely not.”

The attack was completely unprovoked, and robbery was likely not a motive, said Don, whose wallet was not stolen. Despite throwing his watch at his attacker, it also was not stolen, and was later recovered at the scene.

“Absolutely, categorically in no way did I have any altercation, or words, or anything with anyone,” Don said. “There is just no possible way I had any interaction with these guys.”

Although Don was walking to the Westin at the advice of the Quiet Mon bartender when he was attacked, he does not hold the establishment responsible for what happened to him.

“I don’t hold them accountable for that,” said Don. “I don’t know what would have been a proper resolution for me to get from Cruz Bay back to the Westin. I figured that at least I’d be heading in the right direction, and the likelihood of me catching a cab would be significant.”

As of Monday, Aug. 28, Don had not received any responses to his letter to government officials. Lewis faxed his response to media outlets on Aug. 22.