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April 4, 2004 — Gunfire erupted early Sunday morning during a Clash of the Bands competition at the Palms Court Harbour View Hotel, leaving four injured with a variety of gunshot wounds. As of Sunday evening, two victims remain hospitalized. Police have neither a suspect nor a motive in the shooting.
Police spokesman Sgt. Thomas Hannah said police were summoned to the hotel at 2:52 a.m. to reports of shots fired during the five-band competition, billed as a warm-up event for Carnival 2004.
At least 2,000 persons were in the smaller of the hotel's two ballrooms when the gunfire erupted, according to eyewitnesses who spoke Sunday on the condition of anonymity.
"We were there enjoying Small Axe when we heard the gunshots," one witness said.
Hannah identified the four injured individuals as Renaldo Forbes, Jahi Grant, and Collins Rogers and his wife, Jocelyn Rogers.
According to Hannah, Forbes was shot in the right shoulder; Collins Rogers was shot in the lower back, while his wife suffered gunshot wounds to the left buttocks; and Grant was injured by a shot to the upper right side of the chest.
"All were in serious condition early Sunday morning," Hannah said. However, by Sunday evening, Jocelyn Rogers and Renaldo Forbes had been treated and released. Roy Lester Schneider Hospital COO Amos Carty Jr. said Collins Rogers and Jahi Grant remain hospitalized in serious but stable condition.
Hannah said police have not yet established a motive for the shooting. "We have not recovered the weapon used in the shooting, nor have we identified the suspect responsible for this senseless act."
Citing the ongoing investigation, Hannah could not comment on reports Sunday that a .22-caliber handgun was used in the shooting, nor could he confirm allegations that the security officers hired to work the event had allegedly contaminated the crime scene. One law enforcement source said Sunday that the spent ammunition casings were picked up by security personnel at the hotel after the shooting.
"Because of this, the crime scene could not be adequately
processed…. This could have some impact on the investigation," said the source.
Other persons who were in attendance at the Clash of the Bands event described the scene as chaotic when the gunfire erupted. "We heard the shots, saw the people get shot, and we ran for cover," one witness noted.
Others said the double glass doors leading out of the ballroom were locked after the gunfire erupted, causing even more panic and chaos.
Others who spoke Sunday said the incident renewed concerns about the safety of such events. "It's crazy to think that the promoter and the hotel owner could allow so many people to be packed into such a small hall. How are we to get out if something happens?" According to one witness, Sunday's crowd exceeded 3,000 people.
At the time of the shooting, the Small Axe Band from St. Kitts was on stage. Having already played were the WCK band from Dominica, P'Your Passion from St. Thomas and Burning Flames from Antigua. St. Thomas' "Jam Band" was slated to headline, but the show was cut short when the shooting occurred.
Hannah urged anyone with information to contact VIPD investigators at 774-2211, 911, or the crime information hotline at 777-8711.

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