A teenage girl from Puerto Rico was fatally shot while riding in a tour van to St. Thomas' popular Coki Point Beach, the Associated Press reported July 13. Lizmarie Perez Chapparo, 14, was reportedly caught in the crossfire as rival gangs engaged in a shootout at a funeral, with shots striking the passing tour bus.
Chapparo and her family had been visiting St. Thomas as passengers aboard Carnival Cruise Lines Victory. The family was not on a Carnival excursion, but the cruise line suspended immediately suspended its Coki Beach trips in the wake of the tragedy.
Coki Beach, on the east end of St. Thomas, is a popular destination for cruise excursions and other visitors to the U.S. Virgin Islands. However, the trip to the beach involves passing through some bad neighborhoods, and the atmosphere at the beach itself can also be sketchy. Gun and gang violence have been a persistent problem on the island in recent years.