Oct. 3, 2005 — The bright red and white sign declared "Yes, We're Open."
However, it was on a window behind the locked bars of an iron gate in front of Bentick's Liquors and Grocery in downtown Christiansted.
Saturday morning is usually a busy time for the store that has been a landmark in the neighborhood for over a quarter of a century. Residents are usually sitting out front enjoying a cold drink, exchanging quips with those going into buy a newspaper or some groceries. But there was no one inside or outside the Company Street store last Saturday.
A tragedy had struck the Bentick family again. No one was quite sure what happened but owner Feron Bentick was in jail and had not yet met the $25,000 bond.
The events of the previous evening had the eerie ring of a scene played out at the store just three years ago. At that time there was an argument between a worker at the store and a customer in the store. Bruning Bentick, Feron's father, stepped in to protect his employee. He was punched, knocked down, hit his head and died.
Feron came back from Massachusetts to run the family store.
Last Friday, according to Sgt. Thomas Hannah, V.I. Police Department spokesman, there was another argument with a customer. This time Feron allegedly pulled a paper bag up from behind the counter and fired a pellet gun at a 41-year-old man.
According to the information supplied to the police, the man heard two popping sounds but did not realize he was hit. Hannah said, "He walked out of the store and some one said to him, 'Hey man, your neck is bleeding.'" Hannah said he went to the Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital, was treated and released.
Police arrived and arrested Bentick on a charge of third-degree assault. Hannah said Bentick was released Monday on bond.
Bentick was not the only well-known Crucian resident to be arrested over the weekend in unusual circumstances and charged with third-degree assault. The V.I. Daily News reported that Shelley Moorhead, of Estate Diamond, was picked up on the same charge after an incident in Sunny Isles Shopping Center.
Moorhead is a community activist driving a local movement for slavery reparations. He is president of the African-Caribbean Reparations and Resettlement Alliance. His efforts have earned him invitations to speak at the United Nations, Denmark and in Africa.
Hannah, who had been off work for a few days, said he had no information about the incident, but was trying to get more.
The Daily News reported that Moorhead told the police he was going to his car in the parking lot and found some one breaking into it. He said he took a machete from the man.
He reportedly was released on his own recognizance.
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