July 13th, 2010
02:49 AM ET

Teen tourist killed in crossfire in U.S. Virgin Islands

A 14-year-old cruise passenger was killed in a crossfire Monday as she rode on a tour bus in the U.S. Virgin Islands, police said.

Authorities said the shooting happened just before noon in the Coki Point area of St. Thomas. They found the girl wounded on the bus and a man who had been fatally shot in the street, police said in a statement. She was identified as Liz Marie Perez Chapparro of Puerto Rico by the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism.

Chapparro was taken to a hospital, where she died from her injuries, police said.

The shootout between the unidentified man and the driver of a red Honda occurred at the funeral of Joseph Ferrari, who was shot to death at a mall parking lot on June 29. The driver in Monday's shooting ran away from the scene, police said.

Three others were arrested as police searched the area. Police said they found ammunition on the dead man's body.

Chapparro's family immediately flew home to Puerto Rico, the tourism department said.

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Filed under: Crime • Travel
soundoff (113 Responses)
  1. Thomas

    Coki Point is some of the best snorkeling on St. Thomas but it's also where the drug dealers on the island ply their trade. It's sad that there is so much ugliness in such a beautiful place.

    My sincere condolences to the family on this very tragic loss.

    July 13, 2010 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
  2. ChaNgE Is DyNamiC


    July 13, 2010 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
  3. Rick McDaniel

    More drug turf wars. The drug trade is making the streets of the world, a wild, wild, west. It is time for all nations to face up to the challenge, and put the drug cartels out of business, once and for all.

    July 13, 2010 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
    • ChaNgE Is DyNamiC

      Thats is very true I agree 100%

      July 13, 2010 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  4. sharon george

    The people who run the U.S. Virgin Islands Government are a joke. Corruption starts at the top with the Governor, improving his security at his own private residence with Government funds. There is no law & order there, why do you think the Governor surrounded his home with a gate and wall to keep the bad guys out. Use to live there and do not recommend anyone to go there. So sorry for the 14 yr. old & her familiy.

    July 13, 2010 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Island Drew

      @ Sharon George. I'm glad you don't live here anymore because you clearly have distorted facts to fit your idea of the truth. The Governor of the USVI works his ass off to fight the corruption and nepotism that has plagued this island for years and if you examine the facts closely you will see that he was cleared by the attorney general to use the funds to build a security fence around his private residence and it is actually cheaper than moving his family into the Governor's mansion. The USVI is a wonderful place to visit but, like anywhere, there are places that either shouldn't be visited or done so with extreme caution. While Coki Point is known for it's drug business, this was a rare event where, unfortunately, an innocent was killed. Don't condemn the entire island because of it.

      July 13, 2010 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  5. Tammy

    Islander, you're so right. But you know Tourist, they come to the island once and think they know everything.

    July 13, 2010 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  6. Bigshowvi

    St. Thomas is a sunny place for shady people

    July 13, 2010 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  7. islandgal#2

    Im with you islandgal. I don't know where in the world Chris lived. Born and raised in St Thomas it isn't like some drug crazy gun town. Yes there is crime like any place but a few shooting make it sound like the streets of Iraq is ridiculous. There is a small percentage of poverty but it's far from shanty town. So Chris get your facts straight.
    My condolences to the family

    July 13, 2010 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  8. Mike

    Hello I'm a former St. Thomas resident. My condolences to all involved especially the parents and siblings of the 14 year old girl that was fatally wounded. Unfortunately this type of incident is commonplace for St. Thomas, and absolutely no changes to that seem to be coming. The fact of the matter is that for the population of St. Thomas the murder rate is alarmingly high. If St. Thomas was a small city in the mainland US it would be considered a demilitarized zone and it would make national headlines weekly for the violence taking place there. One of the worst things about these murders is that they are likely to go unsolved due to the futility and or corruption of the police department. It is time for the federal government to step in and start fixing the gun violence problem that St. Thomas and St. Croix seem completely incapable of fixing themselves.

    July 13, 2010 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
    • AJoseph

      All I have to say is America is concerned with Jamaica instead of its own people so get ur facts straight! It is an island and last time i checked everyone is human. It is rare for these kinds of things to happen

      July 13, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • AJoseph

      To a tourist that is...and just like any other place in the world violence is bound to happen...It is unfortunate that this happened to the Little girl and i send my condolences but with different people coming into our island and of course influencing the culture of the people things are bound to happen Mike. You guys don't complain and belittle NY or Chicago this much when these things happen so why us? If you have a problem with the island then do not come. It is a beautiful little island with kids and adults alike who are corrupt just like anywhere else in the United States.

      July 13, 2010 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      I love the island of St. Thomas, but it has serious problems that aren't being adequately addressed. The proper way to deal with a problem especially one as serious as gun violence isn't to turn a blind eye!

      July 13, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Suze1000

      I am so sad to hear of this. We used to love to vacation in the USVI. Crime has gotten so bad that we are afraid to visit the USVI. We have been robbed more than once while vacationing on St. John. My husband was followed and harassed by a local for no reason. He made the mistake of smiling and saying hello to the man. He was trying to be friendly. St. Thomas and St. Croix are even worse. The bars on the windows are a pretty good indicator of the safety of these areas.

      I hope that one day these islands can become peaceful. We have high unemployment where I live, and very little entertainment for young people, but we do not have these high rates of crime. There is no excuse for this type of behavior. Such a beautiful place, but such a sad place. I hope that one day it will be under control. My heart goes out to the family of the 14 year old who was killed. Losing a child is the most devastating thing that a family can go through. I have been there, and believe me, I understand. My daughter would be 21 this year.

      I also am sorry for the families of the gang members. They have lost their children as well, just in another way.

      July 14, 2010 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |

    i am originally from trinidad and moved to florida as a teenager. i moved to st thomas 3 years ago and work in the hospital here. i first hand have seen the dangers st thomas has to offer.....i do not consider myself a tourist....i work on 95% of the gunshot victims that come into the ER....yes, this is a beautiful island...especially to the tourists that only see that part of the island. the fact of the matter is like trinidad, people needs to be warned about comming here because senseless shootings like this does happen everyother day...,,USA NEEDS TO STEP UP AND SEND MORE REINFORCEMENTS TO HELP THE PEOPLE OF THESE ISLANDS......YES THERE IS CRIME IN THE STATES....BUT ON SUCH A SMALL ISLAND IT IS WAY MORE SIGNIFICANT.....theres only so much we in the hospital can do to save the aftermath of these ridiculas crimes....im absolutely saddened with whats been happeneing and it just keeps getting worse.

    July 13, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      I agree completely. This problem is getting worse and worse. It is time for people to stop making excuses and do something. And for those people that actually believe that St. Thomas isn't any more or less dangerous than any other US city you are dead wrong. There were a RECORDED 35 murders in St. Thomas for 2009 given that St. Thomas has a population of about 50,000 that equals 70 murders per 100,000 people, and for 2010 the numbers are worse. St. Thomas had a murder rate in 2009 that was higher than any US city with New Orleans having the worst murder rate of 64 per 100,000 in 2008. sources US Daily News and FBI statistics

      July 13, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • AJoseph

      If it is such a bad little island why don't you as a concerned citizen come down and help? You can share your efforts. Just like the BP spill everyone complained but most did nothing except that so instead of complaining all the time why don't you guys come help the little island instead of leaving it to the corrupt officials as most of you have stated

      July 13, 2010 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      I have worked with troubled teens in St. Thomas and I know how great the potential for the island is because of the numerous wonderful people I have met there, but there is also an element that refuses to acknowledge and contributes to the serious issues the island faces such as unwanted pregnancy, alcoholism, and most importantly gun violence! In my opinion the St. Thomas community and government hasn't done enough as a unified whole to try and solve these problems. I believe St. Thomas needs the federal government to step in to make the island a better place for residents and tourists alike.

      July 13, 2010 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • vi4life

      hhmmm, has anyone wondered how the guns get here? We have no gun shop. Possesion of an unliscensed firearm is illegal? How do thousands of people possess illegal firearms? How do they get here?

      July 15, 2010 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. VI princess

    i Agree On most of the comments but to come on here and down grade the virgin islands is not right, for instance the COLUMBINE SHOOTING, I'm sure even though that occured, family and friends of the victims were hurt THEY would want, ppl around the world to know that just because of that unfortunate mishapp that not all residents of their community were living with that much hatred to do something so vile, yes, what happen was very unfortunate and very much so upsetting but to come on here and dragg our name in the mudd is very uncalled for, yes da crime maybe be more overwhelimnig being that were such a small island and may i remind you were the U.S.V.I YES WE ARE A UNITED STATES TERRITORY ! Not all visitors have a NEGATIVE experience, many ppl i have spoken to and that are active ppl in my life DESPITE THE CRIME HAVE HOUSES AND OWN TIME SHARES AND ARE NOT AFRAID TO LEAVE, WHAT SOME OF YOU ARE CALLING A PERSONAL SAFETY ZONE, TO MAKE A LONG STORY SHORT WERE NO DIFFERENT THAN ANY STATE ANY CITY OR COUNTRY! * MY CONDOLENCES GO OUT TO THE FAMILY!*

    July 13, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  11. STXQueen

    I am highly upet at some of the comments posted. A little girl dies in the line of gun fire innocently and alot of ppl are here criticizing and shaming the virgin islands about thing that is not related to thi incident.You should be sending condolences to this poor girl and her family instead you just on here blabbing your mouths with gibberish to prove that you are uneducated..No one cares about your experience living in the V.I...if you so hate it or hating it stay where you are and don't visit or move away..no one is begging you to come or to stay..All over the world is filled with violence and crime so why down grade the virgin islands when the united states is just as bad..at least our kids aint shooting up schools..so pass bad judgement all you want but look at yourselfs too..alot of you say we are a welfare state if it wasnt for the u.s. where would we be..maybe we will be much more further cause the u.s. is broke same way with the bad ass economy..so don't throw stones when you live in a glass house..

    July 13, 2010 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Virgin Islander

      Lovely!! I coudnt of said it any better

      July 13, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. VI princess


    July 13, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Tammy

    Mike, check your facts before you start spewing wrong information. And I agree, if St.Thomas is so dangerous, LEAVE, no one is making you stay. This is very tragic and a very uncommon incident. St.Thomas is a beautiful and safe island, if not, I wouldn't live here, nor would anyone else.

    July 13, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      None of the information I gave was incorrect, and as a whole St. Thomas is one of the most unsafe places in the US especially for young male residents. The island is extremely beautiful, but it would be much more beautiful if more was done on the part of government to stop the violence! Personally I can't overlook weekly murders in the newspaper by saying, "Oh but isn't it a lovely day outside."

      July 13, 2010 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. bassmon

    Born and raised on St. Thomas, I have done my share of traveling over the past 30 years- on business and pleasure. I have come to respect all visitors to MY island because I am a tourist at least twice a year. I can relate to the locals when I visit Caribbean islands knowing what is most different between us is Nationality, and with that pre-cursor I can easily establish the difference between the "hasslers" and a "hustlers. My wife always question my choices of tours when I seek the locals operators- bypassing the hotel or cruise organized tours. My response has always been "When they hear my accent, I am on their level and they know what I expect." On the mainland I have I enjoyed my trips to various places like New Orleans' (Pre-Katrina) French Qtr. at night and in the morning seeing and reading about homicides in close proximity to where I was the night prior. It's easy to recognize a tourist in the Caribbean and I help them whenever they are in distressed knowing the ramifications if I fail to. I recall while leaving a construction site, an adventurous white female tourist in only her bikini top & g-string ended up on the a secure road leading to the site. She explained that she was hiking along the rocks from the hotel beach where she left her fiance' over an hour and did not know how to get back. Not knowing whence she came and knowing she could not leave without a keypad code and the path leading back to the hotel would attract unduly attention to the girl, in a split I insisted for her to get into my SUV and I took her back to the hotel's reception area. The short drive to the hotel made her feel safer inside a vehicle with a stranger when she saw what she could have endured on foot on her own.

    This discussion has deteriorated from tragedy it is. Of course our hearts go out for the 14year girl from PR. Yes the islands have many issues that it has failed to deal with as far as security for everyone that RESIDE and visit. People from the outside have a right to criticize us, but think about THIS, if only the guy was shot we all would not be commenting- at least those of you you don't live here. What I do know is I try to make St. Thomas the Paradise for me and everyone I encounter. (Let me get off this SOAPBOX)

    July 13, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Virgin Islander

    I am a born and raised Virgin Islander
    i am not justify the fact the little girl was killed because no one deserves to lose thier life. But the media needs to putting so much emphasis on the fact that the girl was killed. A local black man was killed but i guess that doesnt make it on CNN. No matter how much the Virgin Island improves something happens and its like all of that hard work dissapears. And for the people who never been here dnt judge and make assumptions about the V.I because you have no clue, all you have is what you hear which sometimes isnt always accurate. Im not saying the V.I is perfect because its not and neither is any place in the world. The Virgin Islands are far from being like the street in Iran and Iraq. So dnt compare and dnt judge. The gorvenor works hard and is doing eveything he can so those who doesnt even know what the man looks like need to stop. The Virgin Islands is a dangerous place if you make it that but like i said crime happens everywhere so just get over it and move on. Like i said my condolense to BOTH of the familys.

    July 13, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
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