A St. Croix man was charged with illegal firearm possession after he told police he found a gun on the side of the road.
Raheem Christian, 28, of Beeston Hill, was arrested Thursday and charged with carrying an unlicensed firearm and unauthorized possession of ammunition.
Officers on patrol heard four shots fired from the beach area of Estate Pearl, and the 911 emergency call center advised police that two gunshot victims had been brought to Luis Hospital via private vehicle, according to an affidavit filed by V.I. Police.
Police in the area saw a “black heavily tinted two door Honda Accord come to a sudden stop,” and officers approached the vehicle and smelled a strong odor of marijuana and observed a joint in plain view, according to the affidavit.
Christian and another man were in the vehicle, and police asked them both to step out and advised them that they were retrieving the marijuana. When an officer looked inside the vehicle, he saw a black handgun in a holster in plain view in the center console, in front of the gear shift, according to the affidavit.
The gun was identified as a loaded 9 mm Smith and Wesson.
The other man told police Christian had gotten into his vehicle with the gun, and Christian claimed he’d found it by the roadside. When officers asked whether he believed Christian, the man said “I really don’t know,” according to the affidavit.
Christian said he’d found the weapon and “they were trying to contact a police station to turn over the gun” when the officers stopped them.
Police placed Christian under arrest. Unable to post $50,000 bail, he was held in jail until his advice-of-rights hearing Friday before Magistrate Judge Ernest Morris Jr.
Territorial Public Defender Amelia Joseph asked that Christian be allowed to post $2,000 cash. But Morris noted that Christian has a previous conviction for illegal firearm possession so “I’m not inclined to allow less than 10%, given the defendant’s criminal history.
Morris said Christian must post at least $5,000 cash and sign an unsecured bond for the remainder of the bail, which is $45,000. If he posts bail, Christian must live with a third-party custodian under house arrest, except when he is at work.