Monday, September 5, 2016
Two people were killed and three others wounded early Monday at the J’Ouvert carnival in Brooklyn – sparking pandemonium hours before the city’s annual West Indian Day Parade.
At least four people were shot and one person was stabbed despite a beefed up police presence a year after an aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo was killed by a stray bullet at the raucous annual event.
The first shootings happened about 4 a.m. at Flatbush Avenue and Empire Boulevard in Crown Heights, where a male in his late teens or early 20s was shot in the chest and died at Kings County Hospital, sources said.
A 72-year-old woman was shot nearby as she sat on a bench, sources said. She is expected to live.
About 25 minutes later, a 22-year-old woman was shot in the eye just a block away, police sources said. She also died at a hospital.
A woman was also stabbed at Empire Boulevard and Ocean Avenue, but police said she refused medical attention.
The shootings erupted while as many as 40 cops – aided by powerful lights — were stationed only feet away, sources said.
Dozens of panicked people stampeded over each other during the chaos – with dozens hurtling themselves over barricades and taking cover behind anything solid, including garbage cans and cars.
Scores of officers with their hands on their service weapons ran toward the Wendy’s parking lot on Empire between Flatbush and Washington. Police and EMS responded within seconds.
At about 7:15 a.m., another shooting was reported at Rogers and Clarkson avenues. That man was shot in the leg and taken to Kings County Hospital, where he is expected to survive.
The NYPD had planned to double the number of cops patrolling the neighborhood where a procession of steel drums and costumed revelers was set to kick off at 4 a.m. for J’ouvert.
The department also added 42 new security cameras to watch over an estimated 250,000 revelers and illuminated this year’s celebration with 200 light towers. For the first time, organizers of the parade were required to get a permit.
Police, in conjunction with community groups, also distributed fliers with the stern warning: “This community will no longer tolerate this violence. Do not shoot anyone. Do not stab anyone.”
The heightened security measures came a year after Carey Gabay, a 43-year-old lawyer who had worked for Cuomo and was deputy counsel of the state’s economic development agency, was shot in the head as two street gangs exchanged gunshots during the festivities.
Earlier the same morning, a Bronx man, Denentro Josiah, was stabbed to death during the event.
In 2014, a man was fatally shot and two people wounded during the celebration.
Organizers say the early morning festivities that led to what is now J’ouvert began in the 1980s.
The tradition originated in the Caribbean and is celebrated in several North American cities with West Indian communities, including Boston and Toronto.
The name, J’ouvert, means daybreak, put together from the French words “jour” and “ouvert.”
City officials and community organizers have long chafed at the perception that J’ouvert, and the even larger West Indian Day American Day parade that follows hours later, are intrinsically hospitable to violence.