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A young man of Saint Lucian heritage — one of two armed robbery suspects shot by an off-duty female police officer in a St. Maarten supermarket at about 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 4 — has succumbed to his injuries, according to police and media reports from the Dutch Caribbean island.
Police said Chadwyn Francis died on Friday morning, July 5 at the St. Maarten Medical Center and his body “has been confiscated for further investigation”. The second suspect remains in the hospital with a gunshot wound to the leg, The Daily Herald has reported.
According to information gathered by St. Lucia News Online, Francis’s family hails from Canaries in Saint Lucia and that he lived in St. Maarten for a number of years. He is survived by a daughter.
People from both Saint Lucia and St. Maarten have expressed shock and support, via social media, following his death. Some have said he caused the incident on himself while a few others said the officer did not have to kill him.
“I eh care she didn’t have to kill de man,” a male individual wrote on Facebook while a woman said, “Still can’t believe he gone jred how am I gonna tell our daughter there is no more daddy.”
The Police Force of Sint Maarten – Korps Politie Sint Maarten (KPSM) said in a press release that Francis and another individual attempted to carry out an armed robbery at Econofood Supermarket on Welgelegen road in Cay Hill when they were confronted by the female cop who was in the supermarket at the time.
“The officer in question was in the establishment while the robbery was taking place and decided not to back down but instead confronted both armed suspects using the service firearm. During this confrontation, the officer managed to apprehend both suspects,” the KPSM said.
The second suspect, who remains in hospital, has not been identified.
According to the release, Police Chief Carl John and his management team will “give cooperation” to the Federal Detectives (Landsrecherche) in connection with the shooting.
The police chief said he will “definitely fully stand firm behind the heroic actions taken by the officer to protect those that were in the supermarket at the time of the robbery”.
“The officer’s action clearly shows that the job of a police officer is not as simple as it may seem and also shows how officers go beyond the call of duty by putting their life on the line to protect the community and the visitors to the island,” the release said.
It further stated: “KPSM is also sending out a very stern warning to those youngsters who are involved in any criminal activity to refrain from doing so because KPSM will do everything within boundaries the laws to arrest you and bring you to justice. KPSM will never stop. KPSM will without any doubt continue to serve and protect the community of Sint Maarten and the visitors to the island to the best of our ability.
“KPSM also warns that threatening the employees of the organization as a whole or an employee as an individual is unacceptable. This criminal behavior will not be tolerated and legal actions will immediately be taken against them.”
The KPSm said it is making sure that the officer involved in the shooting “receives all the necessary support and psychological treatment”.
Meanwhile, the Daily Herald has reported that the “Prosecutor’s Office said on Friday that the investigation has not been concluded, but based on the available evidence, there is reason to assume that the police officer was compelled to act according to the law”.