Attackers shot four people, killing two, and stabbed a man on Monday during the early-morning J’Ouvert parade that precedes the West Indian American Day Carnival, despite a heavy police presence that Mayor DeBlasio had promised would ensure the event was “safer than ever.”
Gunshots first rang out during the annual procession from Grand Army Plaza down to Prospect-Lefferts Gardens around 3:45 am at Empire Boulevard near Flatbush Avenue in Crown Heights, when a gunman shot 17-year-old Flatbush resident Tyreke Borel, and also hit 73-year-old Margaret Peters in the left arm, police said.
Emergency responders took both to the hospital, where Borel was pronounced dead on arrival, cops said.
It is likely one or both were unintended targets who got caught in crossfire, Chief of Brooklyn Detectives Patrick Conry said.
Then at 4:14, someone shot 22-year-old East New Yorker Tiarah Poyau in the face just a block away at Empire Boulevard and Washington Avenue — another likely unintended target, Conry said. She later died in the hospital.
Around 5:30 am, an assailant wielding a sharp object stabbed a man in the neck and left cheek at Classon Avenue and Eastern Parkway in Prospect Heights, police said. He is in the hospital in serious condition.
And a gunman also shot a 20-year-old man in the right leg near the corner of Classon Avenue and Rogers Avenue in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens — five blocks from the official parade route — at 6:45 am, after two groups got into a verbal spat and someone pulled out a 9-millimeter firearm, according to police. He’s in a stable condition in the hospital.
Police have not yet made arrests for any of the attacks.
J’ouvert — which means “daybreak” in French — typically attracts around 250,000 revelers from the city’s Caribbean communities, most of whom enjoy a peaceful time dancing to steel pan bands, throwing baby powder around, and parading through streets near Prospect Park.
But the Police Department beefed up its presence at this year’s celebration after a shooter killed an aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo near the festivities last year — although organizers and other local leaders maintain that he was caught up in a melee between two gangs that had nothing to do with the parade itself.
Authorities doubled the number of officers on the streets from last year’s 1,700 to 3,400, installed 45 new cameras and stationed 250 floodlights along the route, and issued organizers with the event’s first official permit in its 22-year history.
The first shooting took place near six light towers and 48 cops, a police honcho said after the parade, but acknowledged it wasn’t ultimatelty effective in stopping or catching the killer in the midst of a large crowd.
“You got to realize, [there’s] enormous congestion in the crowds coming through and it makes it very hard to discern who actually fired the shot,” said Brooklyn South Command Assistant Chief Steve Powers.
DeBlasio said he is nevertheless confident police will come up with a more effective strategy for next year’s J’ouvert, though wouldn’t suggest what that might look like when reporters pressed him, repeating that “all options are on the table.”
“I want to very clearly put my faith in the NYPD because they continue to succeed in stamping out violence and they will do even more going forward,” he said.
Councilman Jumaane Williams (D–Flatbush) argued in the lead-up to the event that focusing on violence one day out of the year will never curb what is a broader problem in the area, and doubled down in the wake of Monday’s shootings.
“The problem is not the celebration,” he tweeted. “Let’s deal with the systematic violence that plagues our communities.”