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. Crucian Diva

    What happened was very unfortunate, and my heart goes out to the families that lost loved ones, especially those of the 14 year old girl. She didnt get to live life, and its a shame! I was born and raised on St.Croix, and EVEN I AM ASHAMED to call this place my home. This violence is completely RIDICULOUS AND OUT OF CONTROL! IT REALLY NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED. The root of the problem is in the homes of these young (men) who are involved in these crimes. I CAN BET THAT A MAJORITY OF THEM WERE NOT BROUGHT UP WELL BY THEIR PARENT(S). Check the statistics! We have a lot of young mothers and absent fathers..Single mothers struggling with 2 and 3 jobs SO THE KIDS RAISE THEMSELVES! WE have no one to blame but ourselves. IT STARTS WITH THE PARENTS! IT WILL BE A NEVER ENDING CYCLE IF WE DONT ADDRESS IT NOW. PARENTS NEED TO DO THEIR JOB! UNFORTUNATELY, IN THE VI, MANY OF THESE PARENTS ARE UNPREPARED TO RAISE A CHILD! THEY'RE TOO YOUNG, OR UNEDUCATED...WE REALLY NEED A CHANGE! PARENTS NEED TO STEP UP. WHEN THEY STEP UP, WE WILL SEE A CHANGE!

    July 14, 2010 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Baybay

    I acknowledge the fact that everyone is upset about the murders and outrage of the incidents that are occuring in the Virgin Islands. My condolences to the family. I live in St.Croix VI. They are criminals living in every neighborhood US and USVI. But the reality of the problems is the Government. The young men in the VI cannot find jobs because some of the individuals in the Department of Labor and Personnel is holding jobs for family members. Young men that have been in prison comes out and try to find jobs they need TWIC card to work. Can't get one because of their background. Women that are on welfare don't seem to want to get off because the food stamp money they get and welfare checks. They are absolutely right because when they go to seek jobs the person that might be in charge look down on them. The Government is the problem. Nepotism, family ties and personal vandetta. It is really bad in the virgin islands and you have to either own a gun or carry one just to be safe from burglars and gangs. The people that live here knows exactly what is going on. We need the tourism because that is where we get money. Some of you are young and are associated with the problem and have families that are the problem. You can act like it is not the truth. Get out your glass boxes and stop pretending that we are living in cages in our own homes.

    July 15, 2010 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Magens

    I am a Virgin Islander, however, living on the mainland for about 16years. I left to further my education and for job opportunities. I go back to visit on a regular basis. For those Virgin Islanders that are still there and being defensive about the crime...get your hand out of the sand! Yes, there is crime everyone, but that doesn't mean that it should be acceptable! Why is it acceptable to have 44murders in barely 7months of the year when the total population for all 3 islands is a bit above 100K people? Where I currently live the population is about 150K and there were 2murders in one year and folks were OUTRAGED! Many folks in my mother and grandmother's generation do not leave their house at night because they are afraid. That is no way to live.

    For the folks making the smart comments saying "if you don't like it then don't come or you can leave" such ignorant comments. If there is no tourism the economy will further suffer. If contributing members of society leave then the economy will further suffer.

    People say....stop being critical and offer solutions. One solution is to clean up the police force...and start recruiting off of island...you cannot have a competent police force when the criminals are related to the people that is responsible for keeping us safe. Be more selective in recruitment...I know for a fact that some people become cops because the paycheck is higher than the alternative government position (feel safe yet?). It is obvious that the police force is in over their heads. They need specialized training in gang activity. On the mainland there are different squads to deal with the different types of crime. You are not going to have a traffic cop on the same squad as a vice cop.

    I wholeheartedly agree with Crucian Diva! She is correct, but saying that the problem starts in the home. Too many households and there are no fathers (I know from personal experience because I grew up the same way)...too many single mothers with multiple children from different men. All that NEEDS TO STOP. That mentality is ruining our islands. Children are raising themselves...there is no respect for adults or authority. A child would curse you out in a minute...and their mothers would continue the same verbal abuse.

    I love my island and always advise people if they have the opportunity to visit they should...but I am going to stop...because I don't believe in good conscience that I can continue to do so and they might get killed senselessly. That poor child was a tourist on our beautiful island and her life was taken away. Yes, there was another death as well, and he should be mourned as well, but her death will overshadow his...because he was a gang banger and was armed at a funeral so obviously knew something was going to happen.

    Folks..be outraged, take back your islands from the thugs that are

    July 15, 2010 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Proud Virgin Islander

    It is sad and unfortunate that this situation had to happen...better yet, its unfortunate that it had to happen in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The only time you see the Virgin Islands on the news is when there is bad press. Born and raised in the V.I., I feel a heart full of saddness. Some State-siders who doesn't have a clue already, believe that we live in grass huts. There is a few hopeless people that is speaking louder than the majority. of good. This is giving the island a bad wrap. BUT! I can't even blame them. Can you tell me how are so many guns and drugs getting in to the island. I would suggest that the federal government need to take over the island and clean house. There is too much corrupt which leads to high crime. No one else has to agree, just an opinion.

    July 15, 2010 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. NeiceeB

    How horribly sad! My family and I have cruised to St. Thomas 4 times and we enjoy the island and its people. Bullets have no names and St. Thomas has to get a handle on this madness. To Liz Marie's family, I am so very sorry for your loss. Our 17 year old daughter was killed by random gunfire almost 2 years ago and she loved to cruise and loved St. Thomas. No one expects harm to come their way on a family cruise. I am praying for you and hope the prayers of many are a comfort to your broken hearts. Sha'Nee Lauren Dougherty 1990-2008

    July 16, 2010 at 1:16 am | Report abuse |

    I know 4 a fact that some of the tourists who find themselves in the "ghettos" are not there because of some wrong turn – they know just what they are looking 4. I've been approached by many tourists about drugs "and where can they find it" . And yes, it is very very sad that the few bad seeds among us are causing such havoc on our beautiful island and very unfortunate that innocent ppl continue to lose their lives, including that 14 year old girl "my sincere condolences".

    July 21, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • BAP (Black American Princess)

      The times are a changing! I pray for my own state who a little 5 year old gril got shot and I pray for all the carribean islands that are feeling a wave of crime like never before! I pray for the suburbs and small towns of the US where children get taken by perverts and molested! We have to pray for our nation and our children!!!

      July 22, 2010 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  7. BAP (Black American Princess)

    I think people need to just face the fact that we are living in terrible times in a awlful depressed economy so crime is on the rise! If the crime is bad here in the States then it is bad in the Virgin Islands and may seem to be worse because it is a small island instead of a big city so it's seems to be magnified times 10! Everyone needs to start fighting crime in your own communities, reach out to the powers that be and demand change! Raise our young people to have love and respect for one another!! Stop comparing who has the worse crime and what place is more dangerous than another! It's stupid and will get us nowhere!!!!!!!!!

    July 22, 2010 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  8. musings

    Years ago I went to the St. John's resort, by way of St. Thomas (a place with some known problem areas). On the way from the airport to the dock where the boat to St. John was, I noticed lots of shacks and poor, idle people. Yes, the resort was like heaven, but what a contrast with how the ordinary people lived. They are the descendants of the sugar plantation slaves, and even if my ancestors came from New England and I didn't know their connection at the time, every white American who has been here for generations has had some ancestral tie with these slave-driven islands. The poverty that is tragic is something that has something to do with us all.

    September 16, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
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