ST. THOMAS — A St. Thomas man is behind bars after firing a gun in the middle of Red Hook, according to court records.
George Penn, 56, was arrested at around 9:30 p.m. Friday after officers who were responding to a car crash in the area of Nicholas Friday Memorial Drive and the entrance to the National Park heard gunshots coming from Red Hook, according to an affidavit filed by V.I. Police.
The officers responded to American Yacht Harbor and heard another gunshot, and bystanders told officers the shooter was about to drive away in a white Toyota RAV4.
Officers blocked the vehicle’s exit from American Yacht Harbor and approached the driver with guns drawn, ordering him to put his hands up and surrender, according to an affidavit. As they took the driver to the ground, officers said they heard a metallic sound and located a revolver a few inches away under a parked vehicle.
Police said they identified the gun as a six-shot Model 206 .38 caliber revolver.
Penn was “extremely talkative” while being transported to the police station for booking, and “At times Mr. Penn shouted he is going to murder his sisters,” according to the affidavit.
Police charged Penn with brandishing a firearm, possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm in a vehicle, possession of a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school, disturbance of the peace, operating a vehicle without a valid driver’s license, reckless endangerment, and assault.
Penn refused to take a COVID-19 test and was held on $100,000 bond.
At his advice-of-rights hearing Monday, his brother offered to serve as third-party custodian if he’s released pending trial, but Assistant V.I. Attorney General Brenda Scales argued that Penn is too dangerous to be freed, at least without a mental health evaluation.
“You’re aware that your brother’s been arrested almost every year since 1983, right?” Scales said.
Penn’s brother said he knows “he’s been arrested a lot,” but was not aware he’d threatened to kill their sisters.
“I really do think he needs help,” he said. “I think he needs to go to rehabilitation or something, I don’t know.”
Magistrate Judge Henry Carr III noted that while none of Penn’s arrests have resulted in convictions, he is awaiting trial for a previous arrest in a domestic violence assault case, and had been released from jail after posting $100 cash as surety for a $1,000 bond.
“I’m just feeling very uncomfortable about this. So therefore, his bail will remain in the amount of $100,000,” Carr said.
Territorial Public Defender Frederick Johnson asked that Penn be allowed to post 10%, but Carr was unmoved and said he must post the full $100,000 in cash or property.
“I’ve got serious concerns. Although there’s no convictions, there’s numerous contacts with the criminal justice system, and he was discharging a firearm,” Carr said. “Attorney Johnson, I cannot afford the risk.”