NEW YORK, United States, Monday September 5, 2016 – At least four people were shot, two fatally, during the J’Ouvert celebration in Brooklyn early today despite the NYPD doubling its patrols and pleas for a violence-free night of revelry.
The annual pre-dawn celebration, which comes before the New York Caribbean Carnival Parade, was marred yet again by bloodshed. Last year, an aide to Governor Cuomo was killed by a stray bullet fired in Crown Heights during a gang shootout.
The NYPD undertook what Mayor de Blasio called “extraordinary efforts” to prevent the violence, to no avail.
Police have yet to name the victims or suggest any possible motive, though Public Advocate Letitia James said, “We all know that the violence is committed by some gang leaders.”
“There are more of us who love and more of us who are peaceful than those who commit violence,” she said at a pre-parade breakfast. “We know that we’ve got a problem with gangs and we hope that they address it.
“The contributions of the Caribbean community will not be defined by those who are sick and demented and bring us down. We are more than that,” James added.
The mayhem began on the eastern side of Prospect Park just before 4 a.m. when police received reports of gunfire along Empire Boulevard near Flatbush Ave.
A man — who is 18 to 20 years old — died of at least one gunshot wound in the chest, police sources said. About 25 minutes later, a bullet struck a 22-year-old woman in the head nearby at Washington Avenue, killing her, police said.
A 72-year-old woman was shot in the arm and a 66-year-old woman was injured while trying to escape the scene.
— Lori Chung (@lorichung) September 5, 2016
Around an hour later, a 23-year-old woman said she was stabbed near the same intersection and refused medical attention.
About seven blocks away, at Eastern Parkway and Classon Avenue, a man was stabbed and taken to Methodist Hospital with non-life threatening wounds, police sources said. The incident occurred off of the official J’Ouvert route, sources said.
Then, at about 7 a.m., a 20-year-old man was shot in the leg at Rogers and Clarkson Avenues. All the victims, except the woman who was stabbed, were taken to Kings County Hospital. The 20-year-old man and two older women were in stable condition.
Revelers continued to dance and toss paint and baby powder, despite the police investigations along Empire Blvd.
Despite the violence, people at J’Ouvert have united to celebrate their West Indian heritage. https://t.co/b4V8wC8Q42
— Twitter Moments (@TwitterMoments) September 5, 2016
but let’s remember the thousands of people who peacefully made J’Ouvert great this morning. here are some of them: https://t.co/EoJ4ZENhds
— Rachel H. Smith (@rachelholliday) September 5, 2016
Last Friday, the NYPD announced the arrest of 43 alleged gangbangers and seized 10 guns in a takedown timed to tamp down violence during the weekend.
Cops doubled patrol vans from 25 to 50, increased the number of flood lights in the area from 40 last year to 200 and for the first year issued the J’Ouvert organizers a permit and designated route.
Flatbush Avenue was lit up like Broadway at night , and cops were seemingly posted at every corner all weekend.
— Vamos Mets (@VamosMets) September 5, 2016
For weeks flyers were posted on storefronts throughout Flatbush, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens and Crown Heights sternly calling for a peaceful parade. (New York Daily News)