2017-09-07 / Other News

Violence, But No Fatalities, At This Year’s Caribbean Day Parade

By Linda Steinmuller

Photos by Lloyd Mitchell Photos by Lloyd Mitchell Monday marked the 50th anniversary of the West Indian Day Parade. The city beefed up security once again in an effort to reduce violence, which has marred the festivities in recent years. Although there were no fatalities this year, by the time the event concluded, three people were shot.

J’Ouvert, a pre-dawn celebration which takes place prior to the parade, is always a safety concern. The city took extra precautions this year, adding intense security checkpoints with metal detectors and changing the start time to 6 a.m. That didn’t stop two shootings that occurred near the parade route about an hour before J’Ouvert began.

Police reports said that a 38-year-old male was shot in his abdomen and a 34-year-old male was shot in his left thigh around 4:50 a.m. in front of 1692 Union Street, near Utica Avenue, about two blocks from the parade route. Both victims were taken to Kings County Hospital, treated and released. Police recovered two shell casings and a victim’s sneaker. As of press time, no arrests have been made, and the investigation is ongoing.

Later that day, a 22-year-old man was shot on Eastern Parkway, between Brooklyn and New York Avenues. The two-mile parade route runs along Eastern Parkway, between Schenectady Avenue and Grand Army Plaza. There was no description of the gunman, who fired shots around 4:45 p.m. The victim was taken to Kings County Hospital in stable condition.

There were two fatalities at last year’s parade. Tyreke Borel, 17, of East Flatbush was shot in the chest and Tiarah Poyau, 22, of East New York was shot in the face. Both tragedies occurred during a J’Ouvert celebration.

The city doubled the amount of officers on duty at the event after Carey Gabay, an aide to Governor Andrew Cuomo, was killed in gang crossfire during a 2015 J’Ouvert celebration.

Councilman Jumaane D. Williams, Deputy Leader, released the following statement on gun violence: “Incidents that occurred, particularly those that took place in Brooklyn near this year’s annual J’Ouvert and West Indian Carnival Parades, were indicative of the systemic gun violence that takes place year-round. We must continue discussions on how to make all the city’s celebrations safer. At the same time, I will continue to resist the knee-jerk reaction that Labor Day events make the city more violent than any other time of year.”

“Such pandering doesn’t require any critical thinking. It is more indicative of systemic attempts to attack cultural institutions of more color and to sell fear. In fact, there were more incidents of gun violence the previous weekends.”

“Every life that is lost each day to this epidemic is one too many. We cannot hope to turn the tide unless we systematically begin to address gun violence in our city by responding to these communities with more than law enforcement - we must continue to expand our multi-agency approach which addresses the underlying causes.”

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