Killing can’t stop party
A career criminal failed in an attempt to rain on the highly successful West Indian carnival in Brooklyn by killing a man hours before the massive costume band parade hit the streets of Brooklyn yesterday.
The killer, described by New York Police Commissioner William Bratton as a “career criminal” who was recently released on parole from prison, shot into an early morning crowd of West Indians jumping up in a pre-carnival fete on Empire Boulevard and Rogers Avenue in Central Brooklyn, killing a 55-year-old. Two other people were wounded, and the suspect was taken into custody.
But when the parade began in earnest just before noon, it was clear that the thousands of spectators didn’t allow the tragedy to dampen their enthusiasm.
Came from far
Some of the spectators and revellers came from as far away as California, Georgia and Israel to participate in the colourful display of West Indian culture along Eastern Parkway.
“This is one of the largest cultural festivals in America and we in the NYPD are committed to working with the organisers and community institutions to make the West Indian American carnival safe for everyone,” Bratton told the Daily Nation.
“The killing of the man was unfortunate but we are committed to ensuring everyone’s safety. The loss of life is a tragedy, but the parade is going forward.”
The identities of the victim and the alleged shooter were not disclosed by police.
Last year, two people were fatally stabbed at the parade, and a man was shot to death in 2011. Another man was killed in broad daylight on the parade route years earlier, and a photo of his body on the sidewalk ran in city tabloids.
Bratton said more than 4 000 police officers were deployed along the parade route, including dozens of undercover officers mingling with partygoers, and several police helicopters thundered above the festivities.
“This is one of the greatest cultural events in our nation and we are committed to ensuring its success,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was a Grand Marshal of the parade.
He defended the importance of the parade despite the violence that has all-too-frequently surrounded it.
“The vast, vast majority have a wonderful time and only a few individuals get out of line,” he said after a breakfast attended by elected officials, parade organisers and local dignitaries before the parade.
“This parade started small, became big and is one of the great events in our city,” he added. (TB/AP)