NEW YORK (AP) — Revelers in costumes danced as the sounds of steel drums filled the air Monday at the city’s annual West Indian Day Parade, but despite an expanded police presence, violence again marred the event with two people shot to death at pre-dawn festivities.
Participants march during the West Indian Day Parade in the Brooklyn borough of New York Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
A male in his late teens or early 20s was shot in the chest at around 3:50 a.m. in Brooklyn during J’ouvert, the celebration that fills the streets with music hours before the larger parade steps off. Police said a 72-year-old woman was shot in the arm at the same location and was taken to a hospital in stable condition. About 25 minutes later, a 22-year-old woman was shot in the head just a block away, police said. She died at a hospital.
Police said they were investigating whether the shootings were related. A woman was also stabbed in the area, but police said she refused medical attention.
The New York Police Department had doubled the number of officers at J’ouvert and the West Indian Day Parade, which are overseen by different organizations. They also added security cameras and additional light towers.
Crime scene investigators with the New York Police Department work at the scene where multiple people were killed and others injured in a shooting during J’ouvert festivities in the Brooklyn borough of New York on Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
The changes came a year after Carey Gabay, a 43-year-old lawyer who had worked for Gov. Andrew Cuomo and was deputy counsel of the state’s economic development agency, was shot in the head and killed as two street gangs exchanged gunshots during J’ouvert festivities. Separately, a Bronx man, Denentro Josiah, was stabbed to death.
Cuomo, among the raft of state and local elected officials marching in the parade, connected the shootings to illegal guns.
“NYPD doubled the number of police they had on duty, I don’t know what else they could’ve done, and I think the lesson is it’s not just about more police,” he said. “It’s going to take all of us working together to make a difference.”
He continued: “We have to stop the violence, stop the shooting, stop the killing, and we have to do something about the insanity of illegal guns in this country.”
J’ouvert brings an estimated 250,000 people to the streets, and the parade attracts more than 1 million. The route goes through a major Brooklyn roadway, in neighborhoods that have a strong Caribbean presence.
This story has been corrected to show police now say the injured woman is 72, not 66.