Tributes poured out from sectors of the law-enforcement field and the wider community Monday in response to news of the unexpected death over the weekend of Wilfred Barry.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Hugh P. Mabe termed Barry's passing "a tremendous loss to the community."
U.S. Marshal Conrad Hoover, describing Barry as "someone I thought of as a brother," said, "Not having his presence in the marshals office will leave a void."
Gov. Charles Turnbull said Barry's outreach to youths on such issues as violence and drugs "played a significant role in altering the lives of many young people who seemed headed for social and behavioral problems."
Delegate Donna Christian-Christensen extended her condolences.
Bruce Hamlin, in his capacity as acting police commissioner in the absence of Commissioner Franz Christian, said of Barry, "His premature passing is a tragedy and a moment of grief we all must share." He made reference to "those of us whose lives he touched in some small way through his friendship and dedication to community and duty."
Funeral services were pending for Barry, acting chief deputy of the U.S. Marshals Service for the territory, who died shortly before 1 a.m. Sunday in Roy L. Schneider Hospital after having been taken there about an hour earlier complaining of chest pains.
Barry, 46, had been with the U.S. Marshals Service in the territory for 13 years. Before that, he served with the V.I. Police Department for more than a decade and was for several years director of the V.I. Narcotics Strike Force.
A fervent campaigner to keep young people from getting involved in lives of crime, Barry was known for his riveting and real-life approach to letting them know what would happen if they did so. His show-and-tell sessions typically involved handcuffs, shackles and, often, convicted criminals to talk about their use first-hand.
To hammer the point home up close and personal, Radio One's Sam Topp said on his talk show Monday, Barry often cited the 1990 death of his own brother, Samuel Barry, who was slain on Magens Bay road in a triple-homicide shootout that was believed to be drug-related.
His community outreach to troubled youth in the territory attracted attention on the national level. Earlier this year, he received a Points of Light award from the Washington-based foundation established by President Bush. His work as a police officer won him many awards, Hoover said.
Barry was the husband of Charlotte Amalie High School principal Jeanette Smith. He previously was married to Joanne Barry, government director of personnel.