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6-year-old boy among 5 shot at Brooklyn's banned J'Ouvert celebration

The early hours of Monday morning saw five people shot at a the West Indian J'Ouvert day in Brooklyn. The celebration had been banned by Mayor Bill de Blasio over COVID-19 concerns.

Libby Emmons Brooklyn, NY
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The early hours of Monday morning saw five people shot at a the West Indian J'Ouvert day in Brooklyn, NY, according to the New York Post. The celebration had been banned by Mayor Bill de Blasio over COVID-19 concerns.

It was just before 3 a.m. that shots were fired in the Crown Heights neighourhood, where about 300 people were present.

Four adults were shot in either the leg and foot, as was a 6-year-old boy. They were transported to the Kings County Hospital Center and police said that their injuries were not life-threatening.

J'Ouvert had been cancelled by New York City, along with virtually every other public celebration and gathering other than protests, but celebrants planned to have the gathering anyway.

Neither a motive nor the target for the shooting are known at this time. A man who was on the scene, Joshua Kristal, and marching with the group, reported that "It was really crazy—everyone was in shock."

In a video that surfaced showing the gruesome scene, gunfire and screaming can be heard and the little boy is then visible laying in a pool of blood on the street. A woman rushed to him and picked him up.

Kristal described the moment. "The boy, his mom was carrying him. You could see there was blood in his pants. She dropped him, I didn't know what to do, then I saw tons of blood."

The others who were shot include a 47-year-old woman, 40-year-old man, and two men ages 45 and 34.

Police arrested two people who were armed, although neither has as yet been reported to be the shooter.

Last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Rep. Yvette Clarke reiterated their July stance that J'Ouvert would not be permitted this year. Police were set to patrol the area near Eastern Parkway to make sure that people did not gather.

Clarke told NY1 that "We want families to be safe. We want to leave the space for law enforcement to keep us safe by not congregating.

The mayor's office had announced that the part would be virtual this year.

Chief of Patrol Fausto Pichardo pleaded with the community to not get together. "I ask and implore everyone to continue what they're doing. To be smart and be safe."

The day is a celebration of West Indian culture, with participants spending months creating spectacular costumes to parade through the area, and many did gather despite the prohibition.

De Blasio said that police would be on hand to break up any festivities in the community.

Nostrand Avenue and Crown Street, where the shooting took place and West Indian celebrants were prohibited from gathering, is only six blocks from the site of 10,000 person strong protest took place for black trans lives on June 15 outside of the shuttered Brooklyn Museum.

That gathering of 10,000 was not broken up by police nor was it prohibited by the mayor or city officials. At that gathering, people danced and marched through the streets despite COVID-19. The protest turned party parade wound through the neighbourhood.

This is not the first time there has been violence at Brooklyn's J'Ouvert celebrations. In 2016, two were fatally shot, and heavy a heavy police presence has been a fixture of the day since 2017.

The day originated in Trinidad with Canboulay, which was a precursor to Carnival. The celebration traditionally begins before dawn, as it did today.

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