Shootings repeatedly rocked the West Indian Day Parade in Brooklyn on Labor Day, even while Mayor Michael Bloomberg marched nearby. The New York City’s terrifying epidemic of shootings over the Labor Day weekend grew steadily worse.
The toll of the Labor Day Parade violence includes seven deaths among the 49 gunshot victims. The gunfire seemed to follow the revelers everywhere, from the parade route to nearby fast-food joints and even to their own homes.
Nine of the shooting victims were hit at or near the area of Brooklyn Labor Day Parade, the annual Caribbean-themed festival in Crown Heights, where a gunman had fired into the air only blocks from where Mayor Bloomberg had just begun marching.
“[The gunman] shouted something, then ‘boom!’ Everyone ducked,” said a witness, Marlene Anthony, adding that the young thug was standing at Rockaway Parkway and Clarkson Avenue – just blocks from the parade staging area.
“It was a bad mix of alcohol, ignorance and a fool with a gun who tries to ruin the fun of the parade.”
According to authorities, the gunman, Devon Stevens, 25, jumped into a livery cab, but went only a couple blocks before hopping out on East 94th Street at Winthrop Street, where he ditched the gun as cops gave chase.
“I was out here sweeping and listening to music when I saw the police grab up this young man on the hood of this car,” said an elderly resident on East 94th Street.
“There were so many police chasing him.”
Police officers have pepper-sprayed on the gunman, Devon Stevens.
Few hours after the Brooklyn Labor Day Parade ended, an elderly woman was killed in the crossfire of a melee between police and a gunman.
Brooklyn Labor Day Parade had gotten off to a rocky start at 6 a.m., when a nearby McDonald’s, packed with 100 early risers prepping for the festivities, was the site of a senseless shooting.
Kenneth Beggs, 44, bumped into a man entering the Empire Boulevard Mc Donald’s and apologized, but Anthony Carruthers, 28, allegedly refused to let the incident go and pumped bullets into Beggs’ legs.
“The bullet shattered the door, so everyone ran out the other door,” said one McDonald’s cook.
After parade ended, one reveler was shot in front of a crowd on Eastern Parkway.
A group of 6-7 men had pummeled the victim on the ground and then an attacker pulled out a handgun and shot him in the leg. He also grabbed a pot of steaming rice from a food vendor and tossed it onto an onlooker.
Police tackled the gunman. His victim is expected to survive.
According to police the number of people who took a bullet in the past week had skyrocketed.
“For the week ending Sunday, a whopping 98 people had been shot, nearly twice the 53 shot during the same week last year,” the NYPD said.
“Those injured last week were involved in 72 incidents, compared to 40 shoot-ups in the same week in 2010,” Police Department said.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said that although the number of shootings so far this year is fewer when compared to a decade ago, the spree of gunfire over the weekend is “obviously . . . cause for concern.
“We’re doing everything we can do,” added Ray Kelly, who cited the NYPD’s shifting of resources to target guns on the streets, including boosting overtime.
“Some of the shootings were clearly associated with the parade,” Commissioner Kelly said.
“Quite frankly, this is something that does happen with this parade.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said:
“It was a bad weekend, no question about that . . . There’s just too many guns on the streets of this city. It’s a national problem . . . because it’s so easy to buy guns in other states, and just drive them in and sell them in the back of your car.”
In all, at least 16 people were hit by bullets on Monday, 15 of them in Brooklyn.
There was an exception, a 33-year-old man, who was shot twice in the torso and once in the left arm at 11:48 a.m. in front of the St. Nicholas Houses in Harlem.
Officers also nabbed a suspect on Monday in another case, in which eight people were shot in The Bronx.
A man and a rival are suspected of engaging in a shootout that wounded the victims, including 11-year-old Shaquan Walters, at a house party early Sunday.
One of the gunmen, Phillip Muir, 21, from Wilson Avenue in The Bronx, was caught at 2:15 a.m. by the NYPD during a car stop in Mount Vernon, in Westchester, with the assistance of police there.
The other gunman, Oneil DaSilva, 17, from Mount Vernon, remains at large.