Early morning on January 8th, 2015, there was a major incident on "the strip" involving a Ross University student and an off-duty St. Kitts police officer.
According to a security notice from the university, and a statement from the police:
"The Royal St. Christopher & Nevis Police Force is investigating allegations of a traffic accident between an off duty police officer and a local university student. During the encounter it is alleged that the local student fled the scene but eventually stopped. It is alleged that the local student then drove off again from the scene even after the officer identified himself.
The officer discharged his service weapon at the fleeing vehicle and a bullet hit the front door of that vehicle. No one was injured. The officer reported the incident to the Basseterre Police Headquarters. The local student also reported the incident.
An active investigation is presently under way by the Criminal Investigations Division (CID) and the Traffic Division as there are criminal implications based on the reports of both persons.
The officer has been relieved of duty with pay and his firearm confiscated pending the outcome of the investigation."
The student involved posted the following picture of the bullet damage on Facebook:
He then recounts his version of the events:
"As usual, the incident report that was emailed to everyone was grossly understated. This man chased me, blocked me in, and fired 2 shots at me from approximately 20 feet away.Tempers flared when the same officer showed up at a student party the next day. The post on Facebook had over 110 comments at time of writing, including:
One of the shots entered my car about 2 inches below the left side mirror and ended up somewhere in the dash.
Bottom line--this officer knew I was a student or at least not a local, he clearly saw me and his intention was to kill me. ...
Had I froze and not backed up and sped out of there, I would be dead."
"I feel like maybe police officers shooting at foreigners is not chill for an island that relies heavily on tourism."
"Violence towards students just keeps getting worse, from house robberies to armed robberies to now attempted murder. To just leave it in the hands of the St Kitts police is not good enough, something needs to be done now before anything worse happens or someone is not as fast thinking and lucky as you."
"I want the St. Kitts news to cover this....we need locals to be outraged at local violence towards students/non-locals as their economy depends so much on tourism and the students here." (Note: SKNVibes posted an article on Jan 10)The official police statement concluded with the following advise:
"It is very important to note that the police can be reached at 911 if there are questions about a police officer's identity. Police officers in non-classified units must present identification when asked. Never flee the scene of an accident, call 911 immediately.However, Ross University students and staff are typically advised to call the Ross Security emergency line before calling 911 in most situations. Ross security can often respond faster than local police in areas where students are concentrated, since they patrol these areas 24/7.
Individuals involved in the incident are being questioned to the fullest extent and the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force intends to take the most appropriate action."
Update (Jan 11, 2015 -- 7pm)
The St Kitts Nevis Times also posted this article to their Facebook page. Top comments included:
"If de student was driving away from him why did he feel threatened enough to fire his weapon after the car."
"What him a do with gun off duty? Fed-UP to to top!!"
"This is pure bullsh__,a warning shot goes in the air not at the perpetrator....if he was fleeing by foot then he could've shot at him,not to kill him but to wound him on his foot...let us just suppose he had kill that person,what exactly would've been the outcome. We must give right where right is due & give wrong where wrong is due!!! #JustSayingMyPiece"There were also some in support of the officer's use of force:
"The officer story sounds way more truthful to me. Don't see a police shooting someone in public with out real reason"
"Stand your ground Officer: Get back ground checks on the student. No Officer that crazy to just go shoot like that. Not bc, he had a gun it didn't mean his life wasn't threatened bc, some these students do crazy things when they are intoxicated."