Feb 2, 2005 – Clifton Lewis, 38, makes his living cajoling coins from motorists stopped at the light on Centerline Road at Paradise.
Many motorists may find it irritating when this black man, usually shirtless, approaches their car and asks for money. However, he seems to have many friends who expect to see him at the corner. He says he has been doing this for 10 years. Many motorists Wednesday afternoon called out to him and asked how he was doing, some, who were not even approached, called him over to give him coins.
The response from the motorists, their showings of kindness toward Lewis, might be in response to the recent news on St. Croix. Two homeless people last week were found murdered.
Lewis himself has been the victim of two attacks one last Wednesday and one last Friday.
Lewis can speak well for a sentence or two, but when he gets a question out of the ordinary, how-are-you-doing variety, his jaw may drop open and he can fall into an open-mouth stuttering fit. He then shakes his head indicating he can't answer.
However, a police report is on file documenting the attacks, and Lewis is willing to show the wounds. He said Wednesday, "I still have five bullets in me."
Sgt. Thomas Hannah, police department spokesmen, said the homeless man did not report the incidents until Sunday when he rode his bicycle from Lower Love to the hospital. Hannah said, "This shows you how strong the guy is."
As sad as his story is, it has a better ending than that of Lucien Felix, 60, of Frederiksted and Sandra Marshall, 58, whose last known address was in Estate Grove Place.
Felix was found dead of a gunshot wound to the head early Jan. 27 under the balcony at 5 and 6 King Street in Frederiksted. Police reported that Felix was a homeless person, who walked frequently throughout Frederiksted. It is reported that he often slept in the area where his body was found.
Just two days earlier the body of Marshall was found in the bushes off a road, three-quarters of a mile north of Eulalie Rivera Elementary School in Grove Place. Hannah said no permanent address could be found for her, but she had formerly resided in Grove Place. He added it appeared she had been dead for 24 hours and the body had been placed where it was found.
Wednesday, Hannah indicated that Marshall had not died of a gunshot, but he would give no further details.
He said the possibility that all the attacks on the homeless were related was one of the avenues being investigated.
Police advised Lewis to stay away from the intersection where he was shot. Asked why he came back near the Paradise shanty where the attacks occurred, he said, "It would embarrass me to hide."
He added, "You know, I beggin to live."
He asked this reporter to buy him some bread and cheese. The reporter complied.
Hannah would not verify whether the victim's name was Clifton Lewis. Hannah said this was the police department's policy concerning assaults because of concerns about retaliation.
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