American tourist robbed, shot in Turks and Caicos is medically evacuated to US

Posted at 5:23 AM, Jun 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-26 17:11:15-04

An Alabama man remains in serious condition at a Florida hospital after he was robbed at gunpoint and shot early Friday while vacationing with his family in Turks and Caicos, police said.

The Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force responded to the shooting in the Grace Bay of Providenciales, an island in the Turks and Caicos archipelago, at around 1:43 a.m. local time Friday. The injured tourist, identified as Keven Newman of Alabama, was transported to a local hospital, but had to be medically evacuated to the United States for further treatment.

Newman remains in serious condition, according to police.

No arrests have been made in connection with the incident, which detectives are treating as a robbery. Police said they are following up on “active" inquiries to identify those responsible.

Newman, who lives in Smiths Station in eastern Alabama, was on vacation in Turks and Caicos with his wife and son when he was shot. According to his wife, Tiffany Newman, one bullet pierced his abdomen and exited through his back.

"It caused damage to his liver, but the main issue was that it hit his inferior vena cava and right kidney vein," Tiffany Newman said in a statement obtained by ABC News on Saturday. "He lost a very large amount of blood, so he received lots of transfusions yesterday. The surgeon also had to remove his right kidney, and his left kidney function is being monitored closely. "

After receiving initial treatment on the island at Cheshire Hall Medical Center, Newman was transported back to the U.S. by an air ambulance service late Friday and admitted to Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Newman's wife said Sunday evening that he had been taken off the ventilator and that the doctor said they do not see any signs of infection from the tests they've done.

Family members and friends have quickly raised money to cover the steep cost of Newman's medical flight back to the U.S., relatives told ABC affiliate WTVM. But Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance, which medically evacuated Newman, told ABC News they did not collect money from the family "due to the emergent nature of the transport."

"In emergent situations, we are focused on the best interest of the patient first. Angel MedFlight will seek reimbursement from the patient’s insurance carrier," Andrew Bess, chief operating officer of Angel MedFlight, told ABC News on Saturday.

Newman will be transferred to a medical center closer to home in Atlanta, Georgia, once he is stable enough, according WTVM.

Angel MedFlight has extended an offer to transport Newman again once his treating physicians in Florida give approval, Bess said.

"Similarly, if a second transport is necessary, Angel MedFlight will step in and assist the family. Patient advocacy is paramount to our mission," Bess told ABC News. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family especially as they focus on Kevin’s path ahead.”

Trevor Botting, acting commissioner of police for the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force, said law enforcement has increased its visible presence in the area where the shooting occurred, as well as in other parts of the islands. He urges the public to share any information they may have about the shooting.

"The shooting of the visitor to the Turks and Caicos Islands is condemned, and my team are working tirelessly to identity those responsible and bring them to justice. I know this incident will cause concern in the community," Botting said in a statement Saturday. "We need our communities' eyes and ears to help us keep the islands safe."

"I would ask that people remain alert and vigilant but not alarmed," he added.

The Turks & Caicos Islands Ministry of Tourism released the following statement following the shooting: 

"We are shocked and saddened regarding the incident that occurred on one of our islands, in the early morning of June 23, involving a visitor to the destination. He and his family continue to be in our thoughts and prayers while doctors continue to monitor his recovery.

A criminal act, whether against a resident or visitor, is never something taken lightly and there is a heightened and concentrated effort to identify the individual(s) responsible. The Turks and Caicos Islands are a popular and peaceful destination known for its pristine beaches and relaxed atmosphere and this type of occurrence sends a ripple through the entire community. The safety of all those on these islands is always our top priority and remains as such.  The Ministry of Tourism is in complete cooperation with our acting police commissioner who has increased visible security.  We ask that everyone cooperate with authorities as needed."

ABC News' Kate Hodgson, Matthew Johnston and Benjamin Stein contributed to this report.