A man was killed and four others were wounded in shootings near the West Indian Day Parade route Monday, hours before the political see-and-be-seen event, which has been marred by violence in recent years, kicked off.
Police say a 26-year-old man allegedly shot three people in the street on Empire Boulevard at around 3:30 a.m., killing 55-year-old Michael Sampson and wounding the others. One of the bullets also hit an unmarked NYPD van, shattering the glass and injuring officers sitting in the vehicle.
Another officer saw the shooting and chased the suspect, who allegedly dropped the gun in his attempt to escape. The officer caught and arrested the man at Empire Boulevard and Nostrand Avenue, and other officers recovered a gun at the scene.
The suspect, Derek Goodings, is charged with depraved indifference murder, assault, reckless endangerment and criminal possession of a weapon in the shooting. It's not clear if he has an attorney.
In unrelated shootings around the same time, a 28-year-old woman was wounded in the buttocks on Utica Avenue, a few blocks from the start of the parade route, and a 22-year-old man was shot in the foot on McKeever Place. No arrests have been made in the latter shootings.
Last year, two people were fatally stabbed at the parade, and a man was shot to death along the route in 2011.
The annual parade, which draws more than 1 million people, celebrates Caribbean culture and echoes traditional pre-Lenten Carnival festivities, with dancers wearing elaborate, feathered costumes.
Many revelers dance their way through much of the 2-mile-long route, which winds through some of the city's most diverse neighborhoods.
"I love the culture, the dancing, the food and the fun,'' said Giovanni Oriol, 35, a Brooklyn resident of Haitian descent. "My culture is very important to me, and this is a celebration of all that is good about all of these people and places.''
The event also provides one of the last big stages for politicians before the Sept. 9 primary.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams wa this year's grand marshal. Mayor de Blasio was joined at the parade by his wife, Chirlane McCray, who is of Caribbean descent, and their children, Dante and Chiara.
Gov. Cuomo also attended the parade. He dismissed chatter that he could replace his choice for lieutenant governor, Kathy Hochul, amid a surge of support for a previously unheralded candidate, Tim Wu.