A St. John man was arrested by warrant Thursday and charged with attempted murder.
Ezius M. Ashly, 21, was charged in connection with a shooting on Sept. 16. He was charged with second-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault, discharging or aiming firearms, unauthorized possession of an assault rifle, first-degree reckless endangerment, and several related counts of unauthorized use of a firearm.
Unable to post $200,000 bail, he was jailed until his advice-of-rights hearing Friday.
The incident occurred at around 9 p.m. near Flavors Night Club, according to an affidavit filed by V.I. Police.
Investigators learned that Ashly fired shots at another man in the middle of the street on Centerline Road in the Susannaberg area, and a witness said both men fled before officers arrived.
Officers processed the scene and found 15 .40 round shell casing and seven .223 shell casings in the road.
They also reviewed surveillance footage of the area and immediately recognized the male suspect, Ezius Ashly, from previous contacts in the Cruz Bay area, according to the affidavit.
The video showed Ashly driving toward Cruz Bay in the area of Heading East Restaurant, and stopping and getting out of the car. He walked toward the back of his vehicle “when gunshots began to fire from an unknown direction,” according to the affidavit. “The patrons of the nearby business began to run and take cover upon hearing the shots.”
Ashly “ran towards the driver side of his vehicle, pulled out a firearm and began to fire shots in an eastward direction at an unknown individual,” according to the affidavit. “The surveillance video shows the suspect run toward the direction of the individual, and began to use an assault rifle to fire more shots,” while screaming obscenities.
Ashly got back in the car and sped off, and “several young men came out calling for” the victim and one said to “make sure he’s not there dead on the ground,” according to the affidavit.
Police interviewed the victim on Sept. 22, who said he ran into nearby bushes when he heard shots being fired, and “did not see who was firing the shots nor is he involved in any ongoing feud with the suspect, Ezius Ashly.”
Police interviewed a witness who said he saw Ashly firing at the victim, and “investigation revealed that both males were involved in a shootout and have an ongoing feud, due to them having a child from the same woman,” according to the affidavit.
Investigators identified Ashly from the video, which also showed the license plate of the vehicle he was driving, which is registered to him. The video also shows him “with two different unlicensed firearms, a small handgun and an assault rifle.”
In court Friday, V.I. Superior Court Magistrate Judge asked whether the firearms had been recovered. Police confirmed they have not been found.
“The defendant had two guns, he had a handgun and an assault rifle,” said Assistant V.I. Attorney General Brenda Scales. “To have that amount of firepower in St. John is troubling in not only that he possessed it, but he used it.” He has a previous arrest for first-degree robbery, which was dismissed, and Territorial Public Defender Julie Todman said he works as a landscaper and is an apprentice electrician.
She asked that his bail be reduced to $100,000 and he be allowed to post 5%, or $5,000 cash.
Hermon-Percell said given that there is surveillance video of Ashly using two weapons that are still out in the community, she would not agree to such lenient release conditions.
The judge reduced bail to $100,000, but said he must post that full amount in cash in order to be released from jail. If released, he must remain under house arrest with electronic monitoring, in the third-party custody of his father.
Arraignment is scheduled for Nov. 5.