The suspects who are believed to have shot one person and injured 11 others Saturday night at the conclusion of the Brownsville Old Timers Day event are still on the lam as the city’s top officials condemned the act of violence during a press conference one day after the tragedy.
Police Commissioner James O’Neill confirmed during a July 28 press conference that a 38-year-old man was killed during the shooting near Brownsville Playground and another victim was in critical condition.
Cops identified the deceased Monday as Jason Pagan, who died of a gunshot wound to the head.
NYPD Assistant Chief Jeffrey Maddrey said that shots were fired around 11 p.m. on July 27, a few minutes before the end of the two-day event.
There were approximately 2,000 people in attendance Saturday night at the event, which was held on the Hegeman Avenue side of the Brownsville Recreation Center. About 5,000 people attended the first day of the Old Timers Day event, which celebrates the Brownsville community.
The event is hosted on the last weekend of July every year, Maddrey said. The first day is always hosted on a Friday and invites performers “who have catalogues of music and hit records” to come out and perform and entertain the community, according to Maddrey. The second day of the festival sees local performers grace a stage erected near the recreation center as members of the community dance the night away.
But just as the event was closing down Saturday night, police believe at least two shooters, with two weapons, opened fire, striking 12 people. One of the weapons was recovered, according to O’Neill.
“Based on witness statements and ballistic evidence, there were no less than two shooters,” said NYPD Deputy Chief Michael Kemper.
Of the 12 victims, seven were male and five were female, all between the ages of 21 and 55, according to Maddrey. Police have yet to identify the victims pending family notification.
Kemper said no arrests have been made as of Sunday, though detectives were working diligently to collect any information that could lead them to the suspects.
“It’s a very active crime scene in and around the park. Crime Scene Unit is processing the scene. We have already collected ballistic evidence and other evidence of value for this case is being processed as we speak,” Kemper said at the press conference. “We also have other detectives and investigators interviewing witnesses, victims, and collecting video.”
Kemper said that there were probably 100 individuals inside that park when the incident occurred and is asking for anyone who may have been at the scene for help. He urged anyone who may have taken video or photos before, during, or after the incident to call 1-800-577-TIPS or upload them to crimestoppers.nypdonline.org.
Mayor Bill de Blasio also spoke at the press conference, during which he said that he, and the NYPD, were taking the tragedy — which he declined to call a mass shooting — “very, very seriously.”
“We’re here because something happened that should not happen,” de Blasio said. “I want to say from the very beginning that what happened last night interrupted the Old Timers event that had been held successfully and peacefully for decades. Interrupted a moment that up until that time, had represented everything good about the Brownsville community. So we take this incident, this tragedy, very, very seriously… I want to make it very clear, this tragedy does not define Brownsville and does not define the people of Brownsville. It does not define what’s happening on the ground in a community that has worked so far and come so far. We have real work to do.”
According to de Blasio, there were 100 cops on site during the shooting, “which unquestionably helped to make sure that those who were struck, were saved.”
Hizzoner thanked the NYPD for their swift response, as well as EMTs on site and staff from Brookdale and Kings County hospitals for their life-saving work.
When asked at the press conference if the shooting could be gang-related, O’Neill said that it was a possibility, though he noted that the investigation was still in its early stage.
“If you look back historically at shootings and violence within Brooklyn North and the 73rd Precinct, about half of them are gang related, so that’s something that we’re going to take a look at, definitely,” he said.
The mayor said he expects the NYPD’s investigation to yield results quickly.
“We will find the suspects involved,” he said. “They will be held responsible. I don’t have any doubt in my mind.”