Teenage Cruise Passenger Killed in Caribbean Gang Shootout

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A 14-year-old cruise ship passenger was killed Monday in the crossfire of a gang gunfight in St. Thomas, as her horrified family looked on.

The teenager was visiting the U.S. Virgin Islands on the Carnival Victory. She was riding with relatives in an open-air taxi (also know as a "safari bus") to popular Coki Point Beach, when the killing occurred.

While the excursion was not sold by the ship, Carnival Cruise Lines immediately suspended all shore excursions that include the Coki Beach area, until further notice.

"According to local law enforcement officials, the family was caught in the crossfire of a gun battle between local residents. Another guest sustained a minor injury in the incident and has been treated and released from a local hospital," Carnival said in a statement.

"Carnival Cruise Lines is profoundly shocked and saddened by this tragedy and we extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to the victim's family and loved ones in the wake of this unfathomable act of senseless violence."

U.S.V.I. Gov. John deJongh identified the slain tourist as Lizmarie Perez Chapparro from Puerto Rico, The Associated Press reports.

The 2,758-passenger Carnival Victory had departed San Juan on Sunday. The ship operates on year-round, weeklong cruises from San Juan.

A St. Thomas teenager also was killed in the gunfight as he attended a funeral. Police said the bullets were sprayed from a red Honda Civic and by someone attending a burial at a cemetery in Coki Point, AP reports.

It was not immediately clear who was being targeted, though authorities said the shootout was a battle between drug criminals.

"All Virgin Islanders share in the sorrow of such a senseless loss of life," deJongh said.

Three people were taken into custody as "persons of interest" after the deadly shooting.

Photo, Danquella Manera, flickr
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