Navy Sailor, Former USC Trojan Charged in Virgin Islands Shooting

Crime scene boundary tape. Getty Images
Crime scene boundary tape. Getty Images

A second man has been charged in connection with an incident that left a Virgin Islands marshal seriously wounded.

Prosecutors have charged Lessroy Gumbs, 27, with attempted first-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, first-degree assault, third-degree assault, reckless endangerment, possession of an unlicensed firearm, possession of an unlicensed firearm during the commission of a violent crime, brandishing or exhibiting a firearm, using or carrying a dangerous weapon and unauthorized possession of a firearm within 1,000 feet of a public housing community, according to probable cause documents filed in V.I. Superior Court.

Superior Court Magistrate Carolyn Hermon-Percell set bond at $150,000 cash or property, with 24-hour electronic monitoring and third-party custodial requirements as conditions of release. Gumbs is required to surrender all travel documents upon release.

Gumbs surrendered to police about 4 p.m. Thursday, according to court documents.

Video surveillance recorded Tuesday morning at First Stop shows Gumbs opening fire with an AR-style assault rifle during an altercation-turned-gunfight, according to an affidavit written by V.I. police detective Jamaal Fleming.

Junior Clarke, a V.I. court marshal assigned to duty at the V.I. Supreme Court, was seriously injured in the exchange, police have said.

The incident began after Gumbs and another man pulled up to First Stop in a white sport utility vehicle, Fleming wrote. As they approached the store, a verbal altercation began between the men in the SUV and a group of men seated along a nearby wall. The two men from the SUV lifted their shirts to show black guns at their waste-bands, according to Fleming.

Clarke is seen on the video trying to de-escalate the situation, Fleming wrote.

Another man charged in the incident, Shamari Elmes, 29, brandished a handgun and pointed it at Gumbs, at which point, Gumbs went back to the car, opened the trunk and removed an assault rifle, Fleming wrote.

"Mr. Gumbs is observed firing the high-power assault rifle at Mr. Elmes, and Mr. Elmes is struck in his left leg with a bullet," he wrote. "During the shooting, Deputy Marshal J. Clarke is also shot in his abdominal area and then transported to Schneider Regional Medical Center to seek medical treatment."

Elmes was charged Wednesday morning with first-degree assault, reckless endangerment, third-degree assault and possession of a firearm during a violent crime.

At Gumbs's advice-of-rights hearing on Friday, Hermon-Percell asked how Gumbs was identified.

Fleming testified that officers had traced the license plate number visible in the video to a Budget rental vehicle. Budget paperwork shows Gumbs's name on the rental agreement. Investigators next ran Gumbs's name through Facebook, and spotted a picture of Gumbs in clothing matching that seen on the video, Fleming said.

Gumbs's Facebook profile remained publicly available Friday afternoon. It primarily consists of photos and re-posted materials, photos and commentary on "Game of Thrones."

The shooting occurred on Gumbs's birthday, according to police.

Prosecutors asked Hermon-Percell to set a $200,000 cash-only bond requirement.

V.I. Assistant Attorney General Eugene Connor Jr. told the court Gumbs was both a flight risk and -- over objections from Gumbs's attorney Andrew Capdeville -- a threat to the community.

"This defendant did surrender voluntarily to us," Connor said, but noted that he did not surrender any weapons to police.

The statement drew objection from Capdeville, which were sustained by Hermon-Percell.

"That voluntary surrender is what it is, but it's limited to that," Connor said.

Connor said the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is investigating Gumbs for weapons trafficking, and an ATF agent is willing to testify to the investigation, which drew further objection from Capdeville.

"That would be even beyond my jurisdiction," Hermon-Percell responded.

Capdeville asked Hermon-Percell for a $150,000 bond requirement, but asked that the court grant a 10% provision, which would allow Gumbs's family to put up $15,000 to secure his release. Gumbs's sister, Shamara Capitolin, testified the family would be unable to muster the full $150,000.

"He's a good boy," she said, of Gumbs. "Like many other young men growing up in St. Thomas, it's hard, but he survived."

Gumbs has no prior criminal record, and is enlisted in the U.S. Navy, according to attorneys. Before joining the Navy, he attended the University of Southern California on an athletic scholarship before breaking his leg in two places during basketball practice, Capitolin said.

Gumbs's command has been notified of his arrest, Connor said.

Hermon-Percell rejected the 10% request.

"I do consider you a flight risk," she told Gumbs. "Based on the allegations, the court considers you a danger."

After Hermon-Percell gave the bail amount, Capdeville asked about the 10% provision.

"He has a right to bail, your honor," he said.

"I've set the bail," Hermon-Percell responded. "At this time, I'm not inclined to grant his 10%."

Gumbs's arraignment has been scheduled for 9 a.m. May 23.

This article is written by Brian O'Connor from Virgin Islands Daily News and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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