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Estate Whim Man Gunned Down Monday Evening

Sept. 12, 2006 — A 20-year-old man from Estate Whim was killed by a masked gunman as he prepared to leave the Walter I.M. Hodge Pavilion housing community Monday night.
Police spokeswoman Shawna Richards said that officers who responded to the scene about 7:40 p.m. Monday — four minutes after the call was received at the 911 center — found Ruperto Berrios slumped in his vehicle with multiple gunshot wounds to the upper torso. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police described the suspect as a tall, black man wearing a black mask and a black jacket. The gunman reportedly fled on foot after discharging several shots into the vehicle as Berrios sat in the driver's seat.
Police on Tuesday declined to comment on reports from emergency responders at the scene that a relative of the victim witnessed Berrios being gunned down. Police also would not speculate as to whether the murder was related to the June 24 killing of Berrios' younger brother, 17-year-old David Berrios, in the Ralph deChabert housing community.
Another brother, 21-year-old Reinaldo Berrios, is facing federal charges of first-degree murder in the April 17, 2004, killing of V.I. Police Officer Cuthbert Chapman.
Rupert Berrios' murder is the 13th homicide on St. Croix and the 29th territorywide. The last murder on St. Croix was Aug. 6 when police found the body of 27-year-old Brenda Osario of Estate Whim along the shoulder of Oxford Road in the rain forest. She had been shot several times. They later found the body of Malik Rohlsen, 32, slumped over in his vehicle, the victim of an apparent self-inflicted single gunshot wound. Police deemed the deaths a homicide-suicide domestic violence situation.
Persons with information on Monday night's killing should contact police, Richards said. "All information provided to police will be held in the strictest of confidence," she said.
Richards said the investigation into David Berrios' killing is ongoing. His older brother, Reinaldo Berrios, and three other men were scheduled for trial this month but that has since been postponed. Reinaldo Berrios was arrested May 10, 2004, and charged with first-degree murder and related charges. The other defendants in the case are Felix Cruz, 25; Angel Rodriquez, 21; and Troy Moore, 25.
Charging documents note that Officer Chapman was shot during a botched robbery attempt at the Sunny Isle Wendy's restaurant while he was working security. He died of his wounds nine days after being shot.
After David Berrios was killed, Reinaldo Berrios requested temporary leave from a federal prison in Puerto Rico to attend his younger brother's funeral, but U.S. Magistrate Judge George Cannon Jr. denied the request citing the defendant's safety, that of his family and the community as a whole. Cannon, instead, agreed that the U.S. Marshal Service could arrange a time for a "brief, private viewing" at the funeral home.
Anyone with information on this latest homicide should call VIPD at 778-4950 or 911.

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