V.I. police have asked the Justice Department to conduct a parallel investigation into the shooting death of a burglary suspect by an officer on St. Croix Thursday.
According to St. Croix Police Chief Oakland Benta, Youcari Torres, 21, suspected of breaking into a home in Estate Richmond, Christiansted, at about 2 p.m. Thursday, was killed in a struggle with the officer, whose name has not been released.
The officer has been placed on administrative leave during the investigation, consistent with department policy, Benta said.
Benta laid out the following series of events:
- At 2:06 p.m., a resident reported to police they had seen a man trying to break into a home; police units were dispatched.
- Arriving on the scene, police spotted a male individual who was later identified as Torres.
- A struggle ensued between the officer and the suspect. A single shot was fired during the struggle, resulting in the death of the suspect.
Torres was a native of the Dominican Republic who was living in the Catherine’s Rest area.
“Mr. Torres is someone who is well known by the Virgin Islands Police Department and this community,” Benta said. “He has been arrested before for robbery in the first degree, robbery in the third degree, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and escape from custody of the Golden Grove Correctional Facility.”
Benta promised a full investigation.
“Just like every case, this department will query every avenue just as if it was any other incident,” he said. “The officer involved is a veteran officer of the Virgin Islands Police Department, and at this time we are making sure that the officer is attended to and given every necessary assistance. As it is, incidents like this are traumatic for every single person who has a conscience.”
Benta added that Torres’s family, which identified the body, is being aided by the department’s victim’s advocate.
Benta said details of the incident cannot be reported until after the investigation is concluded. No information on the case was provided by police until late Friday afternoon.