ST. THOMAS – As the sun was setting and families were heading home about 6:30 p.m. Friday, gunfire erupted between Buildings 11 and 12 of Paul M. Pearson Gardens housing community, leaving music promoter Shamal Smith, 24, dead, and wounding St. Thomas reggae artist Delyno “Pressure” Brown and a 33-year-old acquaintance.
By 10:30 p.m. Friday, Pressure, 30, was home with his mother and father, trying to promote a new album over the phone with a fresh, single gunshot wound through his right hip.
“The bullet went straight through,” said Pressure’s father, Irvin “Brownie” Brown.
While Brownie was on the phone, Pressure told him to mention his latest feature, which has not been released yet and still lacks a title, he said.
Pressure, who lives in Florida and arrived Monday with a scheduled flight home Sunday, was set to perform tonight at Pilgrim’s Terrace, Brownie said.
The show is scheduled for 10 p.m. with headliner Lady Saw, Pressure Buss Pipe, Selecta Avalanche and After Dark Empire.
Because of Smith’s death, it is unclear whether the show will go on or whether Pressure will take the stage, Brownie said.
Friday night, Brownie said Pressure recalled the moments before the shooting, sitting with Smith and discussing tonight’s show, which sold advanced tickets for $35.
The second surviving victim, who is Pressure’s friend and a fellow musician, suffered gunshot wounds to the chest, police said.
Friday afternoon, Brownie first learned of the shooting with a phone call from his daughter in Texas, he said.
“I flew out of my house and went to the hospital,” he said. “I saw the crowd up there.
“The police stopped me, and they told me they believed he was going to be all right,” Brownie said.
Pressure ran to the home of a relative who lives in the housing community, Brownie said, and the relative helped him hitch a ride to Schneider Hospital on a safari taxi.
At 8:30 p.m., a police officer escorted a body to the Schneider Hospital morgue, according to police information.
When the rapid gunfire rang out, children ran from the scene, according to police information.
Three male suspects fled the scene, and one of the suspects pulled his shirt over his face while slinging a rifle, according to police information.
Police initiated a search from Paul M. Pearson Gardens housing community to Oswald Harris Court housing community.
No arrests were made by 11 p.m., said St. Thomas-St. John Police Chief Rodney Querrard Sr.
Querrard said the crime scene was crowded when police arrived because of the time of day.
“We had a lot of families getting home from work,” Querrard said. “It was just before dark.”
Querrard said he could not disclose how many spent shell casings were found at the scene.
Upon initial inspection, no cars bore bullet holes at the scene Friday afternoon, Querrard said.
The investigation is ongoing, and Querrard said police understand some of the crowd that formed after the shooting may already have been at the scene during the shooting.
“There were a lot of people in the area,” Querrard said. “We’re requesting any information from the community – anything that they saw. No matter how unimportant they believe the information is, please contact us.”
Pressure quote yesterday on Facebook
“just want to let everyone know that I’m soooo thankful and greatful for all the well wishes and prays that u been sending out…one thing I can say is that Jah wasn’t ready for me yet but he took my good friends life who always looked to me for a way out of the struggle…I woke up this morning and started to cry for the first time since the incident because of the flashbacks of me and my friend running for our life.”