A man who assaulted two women on St. John was wielding a BB gun when police shot and injured him Friday, according to court records, and a judge has ordered him to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.
Alex Louis Camsel, 46, of Estate Pastory, was released from Schneider Hospital on Tuesday after undergoing surgery and charged with disturbance of the peace, three counts of disturbance of the peace by threats, four counts of third-degree assault and damaging or tampering with a vehicle.
He was jailed on $100,000 bond and appeared in court via video conference for his advice-of-rights hearing Wednesday.
The affidavit filed by V.I. Police sheds additional light on the circumstances that led up to the shooting.
Police interviewed three victims, who explained that the incident began Friday morning when a woman was walking from her home in Pastory into town.
Camsel approached and “told her to go back inside,” and when she continued walking Camsel “swung a crowbar type tool after her that struck her backpack,” according to the affidavit.
The victim said she went into her home and called her mother for help, and her mother had a coworker drive her home to her daughter.
The coworker said that as they were driving through Pastory, Camsel “began to threaten to kill them for no known reason and stated that he wanted blood on his hands,” according to the affidavit.
The coworker told police that “they ignored the defendant because they know that is how he is and continued to drive away,” but Camsel began pelting the vehicle with rocks and her left hand and the back of her head were struck, according to the affidavit.
The mother confirmed the account, and explained that despite the injuries, her coworker was able to continue driving to the police station in Cruz Bay, where they sought help.
Police brought the coworker to Myrah Keating Smith clinic for treatment, and picked up the daughter and brought her and her mother to the clinic to check on the coworker, according to the affidavit. As they were traveling to the clinic with officers, the women “saw the defendant in the roadway pointing a rifle type gun towards them as they drove by in the police vehicle.” They told the officers it was the same man who’d thrown rocks.
Police brought the victims to the clinic and called for backup, according to the affidavit, which does not include any information about the subsequent standoff with police.
In an interview with investigators, Camsel admitted to assaulting the women with a garden tool and rocks, and “admitted he did have a rifle-type pellet gun in his possession however he did not point it at anyone,” according to the affidavit. “The defendant concluded by stating that he did not threaten to kill anyone and that he yelled out that the gun was a bb gun prior to him getting shot.”
None of the officers who responded to the scene Friday were equipped with body cameras, and none of the cruisers had dashboard cameras. No video of the shooting exists, according to police.
Police have not identified the officer involved, and V.I. Police spokesman Toby Derima said in an email Sunday that “as per the collective bargaining agreement with the government of the Virgin Islands, the requested information cannot be divulged.”
Camsel appeared in court Wednesday, where Territorial Public Defender Frederick Johnson and Assistant V.I. Attorney General Brenda Scales debated which crimes Camsel should be charged with — given the fact that he was not carrying a real firearm at the time he was shot.
Magistrate Judge Henry Carr III ultimately found probable cause for the charges filed against Camsel, but said two charges of third-degree assault that are related to his aiming of the bb gun at the mother and daughter “just barely” met the threshold.
Scales said Camsel has a previous arrest for first-degree assault in 1996, and Johnson said he was charged in November with simple assault, vehicle tampering, and disturbance of the peace.
That case remains pending, and Johnson said that Camsel has been living in a home in Estate Pastory that has not had electricity since the 2017 hurricanes, and would be unable to post even a small amount of cash as bail.
Johnson also asked that his client undergo a psychiatric examination as “it looks like there might be an underlying mental health issue.”
Carr reduced bond from $100,000 to $10,000 and said Camsel may post 10%, or $1,000 cash to be released. But Carr said he would also need to find someone willing to serve as a third-party custodian while he awaits trial, and ordered him to submit to a mental health examination before he can be released from jail.