A man and a woman were killed and five other people were injured in three shootings and two stabbings during J'Ouvert celebrations along the West Indian Day Parade route in Brooklyn early Monday morning, police say.
A man and a woman were shot at Empire Boulevard and Flatbush Avenue during the pre-parade festivities in Crown Heights shortly before 4 a.m.
Seventeen-year-old Tyreke Borel, who was shot in his chest, died of his injuries, according to police. A 72-year-old woman, Margaret Peters, was shot in her arms and hands.
She recalled to NBC 4 New York: "My sister said, 'Get up, get up!' When I went to get up, I realized I had been shot."
"I was trembling, trembling. I keep shaking, shaking, shaking, they tried to keep me calm" said Peters, who was treated and released from Kings County Hospital.
A short time later and just a block away at Empire Boulevard and Washington Avenue, Tiarah Poyau, 22, was shot in the head just before 4:15 a.m., according to police. She was transported to Kings County Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Another 20-year-old man was shot in the leg just before 7 a.m. near the corner of Clarkson Avenue and Rodgers Avenue. He is expected to survive.
Police say they doubled their enforcement around J'Ouvert after a stray bullet struck and killed 43-year-old Carey Gabay, an aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, at last year's festivities. Around 3,400 officers were assigned to the event Sunday, compared to last year's 1,700. Forty-five cameras were set up, and 250 light towers were deployed.
Despite that, "it's hard to determine who fired the shots because everybody runs, not just the shooter," NYPD Chief Powers said at a news conference Mondday. "That's the problem we're dealing with."
In addition to the shootings, a 23-year-old woman was also stabbed in the lower back at Ocean Avenue and Empire Boulevard shortly before 4:20 a.m. Police say she refused medical attention.
Another person was stabbed in the neck at Eastern Parkway and Classon Avenue around 5:30 a.m. That person was taken to Methodist Hospital in serious condition.
Borel, the 17-year-old killed in the shootings, was going to school and working as an auto mechanic, according to his great uncle David Brathwaite. He is survived by his mother and younger brother and sister. His father is a police officer back in their home country of Trinidad, where the teen will most likely be buried.
The West Indian Day parade is a rollicking, colorful celebration of Caribbean culture, music, style and food that draws hundreds of thousands of people each year, but it also has been marred by violence in recent years.
Mayor de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton had promised that there would be "the most extensive security ever" at this year's J'Ouvert celebration, a year after Gabay was shot and killed at the overnight festival in Brooklyn, which draws as many as 250,000 people to Prospect Park before the West Indian Day Parade.
"In planning these events, we always plan for the worst and hope for the best," said Bratton. "We met repeatedly with the organizers, met with community, business, religious leaders in an effort to ensure a safe event."
"Despite these high hopes, we had unfortunate tragedy once again," he said. "That will not deter us or what we'll do next year."
Parade-goers said Monday morning that they were glad the police were keeping an eye on things.
“Safety is a must, we appreciate it,” one woman said. “Every year it’s a big celebration, as you can see, and we welcome the presence of the police.”
"To me, J'Ouvert is not the problem. The problem is the system. I can't blame J'Ouvert for the incident," said Brathwaite, Borel's great uncle.
De Blasio also pointed out that the St. Patrick's Day Parade and the Puerto Rican Day Parade also once had reputations for violence until systematic efforts by police tamped down on the perception.