ST. CROIX — Governor Kenneth Mapp and Police Commissioner Delroy Richards took to a podium at Government House Thursday evening to address the people of the territory following news that two off-duty police officers had been slain last night at a beach in Hams Bluff, Frederiksted.
The leaders were set to address residents and the press at 5:30 p.m., but the governor and Mr. Richards were speaking with the victims’ families, sharing consoling words and promising to leave no stone unturned in bringing justice to those responsible for the police deaths. The territory-wide address started just after 6:00 p.m.
Government House, as ordered by the territory’s chief executive, released the identities of the slain police officers, including their biographies.
Officer Lesha Lammy, 30, above left, joined the police force on December 13, 2010 as a police recruit, and was promoted to the V.I.P.D. on June 26, 2013. Ms. Lammy, who was assigned to the Wilber Francis B Command on October 4, 2015, leaves behind three young children, according information provided by Government House.
Officer Kai Javoi, 28, above right, joined the force as a police recruit on May 11, 2015. He was promoted to the V.I.P.D. on December 14, 2015, and was stationed at the Ancilmo Marshall C Command from June 26, 2016.
The governor shared with the media details regarding the incident, stating that other pertinent information was being held in confidence because an investigation is ongoing.
“We found no evidence that the officers were victims of any traditional terrorist activities as we know them in the nation,” Mr. Mapp said. “The officers were not targeted specifically because they were police officers… What we also believe the evidence has indicated thus far, is that the officers do not appear to be victims of a random act of violence, given the number of shootings and gang violence that are occurring in the territory.”
Earlier today, Mr. Richards told this publication that the incident occurred less than 24 hours ago, adding that it most likely happened last night, as one of the officers was supposed to report to duty Wednesday night but failed to do so.
“We know for a fact that one officer was supposed to report to duty last night and he didn’t show,” Mr. Richards said. “What we’re looking at is that it happened within a 24-hour time period, based on folks who had seen him [the male victim] prior.”
The bodies were discovered this afternoon on the sand by two individuals who came to the area to catch whelks, Mr. Richards said. He said V.I.P.D. detectives were speaking to several people, and would share more information once he’s able to combine the various moving parts of the story.
Earlier reports suggested that police were on the hunt for one of their own, but Mr. Richards said he would not deny or confirm said reports.
“I’m going back to the office to sit with everybody and see what they have, and then we move forward,” Mr. Richards said. He then expressed grief, which was already apparent on his face.
Police vehicles lined the side of the small path, and officers could be seen talking among themselves, visibly disturbed by the occurrence.
“It’s a tragic day,” Mr. Richards said, describing the male officer as “very good,” and the female as having served for multiple years with the V.I.P.D.
“We’re talking to several people to get as much information as we can — to determine whereabouts, where they were last seen and whom they were last seen with. Every time a name pops up, we’re going after that.”
Mr. Richards said the officers were found clothed.