An annual community festival was coming to a close when gunfire broke out in the eastern Brooklyn neighborhood of Brownsville, New York, leaving one man dead, 10 others wounded, and another person in critical condition, authorities said Sunday. The authorities searched for two shooters they believe were involved.
The shooting happened just before 11 p.m. Saturday in the borough’s Brownsville section “was a tragic end to a wonderful weekend” that involved 2,000 to 3,000 people gathering to take part in the annual Old Timers Event.
The crowd at the celebration dispersed after gunshots rang out from a playground area in the park where the celebration was taking place.
The Old Timers Event had been held since 1963, which featured musical performances from former residents and current local talent, New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill said.
Police say 12 people were shot — seven men and five women between the ages of 21 and 55. Jason Pagan, 38, died from a bullet wound to the head.
O’Neill said six of the wounded had been released from the hospital by midday Sunday.
There have been no arrests. Anyone with information or cellphone video was asked to come forward, authorities said.
One gun was recovered at the playground and gang activity was among the possible motives, O’Neill said.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at a news conference on Sunday that the two-day block party was an “example of everything good about the Brownsville community”. He decried the shooting as a “tragedy” that does not define the neighborhood.
“It was chaos”, 60-year-old Gary Miller, a vendor at the event, told the New York Post.
Gary Miller added, “Shots rang out, and the crowd was already dispersing, and you heard about 9 to 11 shots and everyone was running and scattering for cover.”
Brownsville, an east Brooklyn neighborhood, continues to struggle with gun violence, even as New York streets become safer than they have been in decades.
State Sen. Roxanne J. Persaud added to her tweets the hashtags “#StopTheViolence” and “#PutDownTheGuns” expressing frustration with the shooting, which she called “unacceptable” and “cowardly.”
Persaud, whose district includes Brownsville tweeted that “Our community mourns again. We should be able to have fun in open spaces without fear of violence. Respect your community. We are better than the violence.”