Friday afternoon a gunman opened fire on a Brooklyn street while students were let out of Brownsville’ school, killing pregnant mother Zurana Horton and injuring other two people.
Zurana Horton, 34, was killed while defending her children and others that were leaving school when the shooting started.
Reports say Zurana Horton was pregnant when she was shot though it has not been reported how far along she was in the pregnancy.
Another mother and an 11-year-old girl were also struck, though they were not killed.
Pregnant mother Zurana Horton, 34, was killed while defending her children and others that were leaving the Brownsville school when the shooting started
The fire started at about 2:30 p.m., right as the children were being let out from a local public elementary and middle school in Brownsville, New York.
NYPD were investigating whether the gunman fired from a nearby rooftop where shell casings were discovered.
Zurana Horton hovered over students to protect them as shots were fired. The mother was shot in the face and chest and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Another 31-year-old mother who was struck is still unnamed. The woman was hit in an arm and the chest and was hospitalized.
The 11-year-old girl, a sixth-grader at the Brooklyn school, had one arm injured and had a graze wound on her cheek. None of the victims was related, according to police.
According to Margie Feinberg, a Department of Education spokeswoman, the victims were on a street corner at the back of the elementary school when the fire started.
So far, it is unclear how many shots were fired. Seven shell casings from a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol were found on the nearby rooftop and other five shell casings were found on the sidewalk in the front of that building, according to police.
According to eye-witnesses, three men were seen fleeing the scene, and police were questioning at least one person. The gunman was being sought, and police offered a $12,000 reward for information in the case, New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne said.
Brownsville, the school’s neighborhood, is located in southeastern Brooklyn and is among the most crime-plagued in New York.
Brownsville area is also known as the place where tens of thousands of people, mostly black and Hispanic men, are stopped, questioned and frisked annually by police. Critics say the men are being unfairly targeted, and only about 10% of stops city-wide result in arrest.
NYPD says the tactic is a necessary crime-fighting tool that helps get illegal guns off the streets.
New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne said:
“Police conduct stops of individuals evincing suspicious behaviour in areas where shootings occur in order to prevent, or at least lower, the frequency of tragedies like the one in Brownsville today.”
Monday, October 10, is Columbus Day 2011 and many banks, state and local offices as well as U.S. post offices will be closed. In New York, the Columbus Day Parade will begin at 11:30 a.m. Eastern Time, lasting until about 3:00 p.m.
New York’s Columbus Day Parade starts on Fifth Avenue at 44th Street and continues up Fifth to 79th Street.
A Columbus Day Mass will take place at St. Patrick’s Cathedral at 50th Street and Fith Avenue at 9:30 a.m. on Monday.
The Columbus Citizens Foundation has been organizing New York’s Columbus Day Parade since 1929.
More than 35,000 participate in the Columbus Day Parade each year, including more than 100 groups sporting floats, bands and an assortment of entries. About one million spectators view the parade – including almost 500,000 lining the streets to watch live – and it is among the largest celebrations of Italian-American culture in the world.
The Columbus Citizens Foundation has been organizing New York's Columbus Day Parade since 1929
Traditionally, Columbus Day is held on the second Monday in October.
The first record of an event commemorating Columbus Day in the United States was on October 12, 1792.
Columbus Day celebrates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ “discovering” Americas.
Columbus arrived in the Americas on October 12, 1492. Observance of Columbus Day varies throughout the United States. It became an official holiday in Colorado in 1906, and a federal holiday in 1937, although Hawaii and South Dakota do not recognize Columbus Day at all.
In New York, and in other cities around the country, Columbus Day celebration is a big, annual event, however.
Columbus Day Parade is one of the New York City’s annual big events
Regarding this year’s Columbus Day Parade in New York Columbus Citizens Foundation said in a press release:
“On October 10, 2011, Fifth Avenue will be transformed during the Columbus Day Parade, the world’s largest celebration of Italian-American culture. The parade was led by Grand Marshal Joseph Plumeri, proud philanthropist, and Chairman and CEO of Willis Group Holdings.
“The Columbus Day Parade is a fun filled parade that gets bigger and better every year. Participants from all over the world march in our Parade with pride.
“This is already a special year for us, as we have invited and received confirmation from some of the most talented performers. Pia Toscano (American Idol Favorite) as well as the Italian Musical, “The Italian Fairy” are just some of the notable performers. The Sacred Heart University Marching Band as well as Stony Brook University Marching Band will be just a few of our new and exciting musical acts in the Parade. This year, the Parade will be marching up Fifth Avenue from 44th to 72nd Street. The grandstands will be located on Fifth Avenue between 67th and 69th Streets.
“The parade celebrates the spirit of exploration and courage that inspired Christopher Columbus’s 1492 expedition and the important contributions Italian-Americans have made to the United States. Over a dozen high school bands, as well as virtuosi professional groups from the United States and Italy, marched up Fifth Avenue and filled the canyons of midtown with joyous, heart-pounding music. Traditional folk groups performed centuries-old dances, and cutting-edge designs were brought to the parade route in displays of the vibrant culture that is Italy today.”
On Sunday, hurricane Irene passed over New York without major damage to the city, but the storm still caused deaths, serious floods and power blackouts affecting more than a million people as it swept up the US north-eastern seaboard.
Hurricane Irene weakened quickly after making landfall near Atlantic City, New Jersey, at about 5:30 a.m., local time. Four hours later, it made landfall again at Coney Island.
Meanwhile Irene had been downgraded by the National Hurricane Center to a tropical storm with winds at around 65mph – much weaker than the 85mph that was forecast late on Saturday.
Irene’s biggest impact was felt on Sunday night in upstate New York and New England where many communities suffered devastating floods after rivers burst their banks and torrential rains fell on ground already saturated by unusually high downpours earlier this month.
Irene had been downgraded by the National Hurricane Center to a tropical storm with winds at around 65mph
In the Catskills mountain town of Windham, where Irene dropped 10 inches of rain starting on Saturday night, the downtown area was “wiped out” by flood water.
In nearby Prattsville, National Guard soldiers rescued 21 people who had been trapped in a motel by fast-moving water that blew out bridges and roads all over the county, according to Reuters.
Vermont was also experiencing its worst flooding in almost 40 years, according to local reports. Many towns, including Brattleboro, Wilmington, Rutland and Grafton, were under water on Sunday night.
President Barack Obama warned over the storm and its aftermath:
“This is a storm that has claimed lives. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost loved ones,” Barak Obama said.
“Many Americans are still at serious risk of power outages and flooding which could get worse in the coming days. I want people to understand that this is not over.”
Irene killed 3 people as it passed over the north-eastern seaboard.
In New Jersey a young woman was found dead in her car on a flooded rural road. The woman, 20 year-old, who has not yet been identified, had earlier called police after she and her car were washed away by a flash flood.
“She left her house, went in her car and was swept away,” said New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
About 30 miles (48km) north-west of Manhattan, in New York’s Rockland County, a man was electrocuted by a downed power line after he tried to save a child who had gone out into a flooded street that had live wires, officials said. The child is now in hospital in a serious condition.
In Prospect, Connecticut, another person was killed in a fire that investigators believe was sparked by fallen wires.
Irene death toll now stands at more than 15 with lives lost all along the storm’s track from the Carolinas to Virginia and up through Pennsylvania, where a man was killed in his tent by a falling tree, to New York and beyond.
A nuclear reactor in Maryland was shut down after it was damaged by wind. Others were taken offline or were operating at reduced capacity as precautionary measures.
More than 6 million homes and businesses lost power as the storm passed up the east coast. 2 million people were warned or received evacuation orders.
Flooding is likely to be the major problem this week. Parts of Philadelphia were heavily flooded, with water reaching street-sign levels in some areas. Flash flood warnings were issued up and down eastern and central Pennsylvania.
Tom Corbett, Pennsylvania governor said on Sunday: “The rivers may not crest until Tuesday or Wednesday. This isn’t just a 24-hour event.”
New York’s public transport system is likely to be disrupted next week. On Sunday, transport workers waited for winds to die down before they were able to inspect train and subway lines.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said it was too early to say when normal service would be resumed.
The region’s major airports were closed on Sunday and were likely to be closed for at least part of Monday as airlines waited for transport systems to be restored so passengers could reach them.