J’Ouvert festival shootings: Man charged in Tiarah Poyau’s death, NYPD chief says

Two people at the J'Ouvert festival were shot and killed early Monday morning, Sept. 5, 2016, police said.
Two people at the J’Ouvert festival were shot and killed early Monday morning, Sept. 5, 2016, police said. Photo Credit: Heroes & Icons TV Network

A man has been charged in connection with the shooting death of a woman at the J’Ouvert festival early Monday morning, NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said at a news conference Tuesday.

Reginald Moise was arrested around 8 a.m. Monday for an unrelated DWI charge, Boyce said, but investigators were able to connect him to the murder of Tiarah Poyau, 22. Moise admitted it was possible he shot someone at the parade and said he didn’t know his gun was loaded, Boyce said.

Poyau was shot in the head near Washington Avenue and Empire Boulevard around 4:15 a.m. She was pronounced dead at Kings County Hospital Center.

Moise is charged with second-degree murder, criminal possession of a weapon and reckless endangerment, police said.

Poyau’s death was one of two fatal shootings along the J’Ouvert festival route.

Around 3:50 a.m., about a block away on Flatbush Avenue and Empire Boulevard, Tyreke Borel, 17, and a 72-year-old woman, who has not been identified by police, were shot.

Both victims were taken to Kings County Hospital Center. Borel, who was shot in the chest, was pronounced dead at the hospital, and the woman, who was shot in the arm, was listed in stable condition, police said.

Boyce said the investigation of these shootings is ongoing. So far, there have been no arrests in the death of Borel.

About 250,000 people attended the festival, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio, who said the vast majority of attendees celebrated peacefully.

During a news conference Monday morning, de Blasio said a few people violated the spirit of pride and culture that J’Ouvert brings to Crown Heights. The mayor called the shootings “fundamentally unacceptable” and vowed to bring those responsible to justice.

“Our hearts go out to the two lives that were lost,” Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said during the news conference Monday.

A 20-year-old man was also shot in the leg around 6:45 a.m. after two groups of people got into a verbal dispute near Clarkson and Rogers avenues, according to police. He was taken to Kings County Hospital Center in stable condition, police said.

Meanwhile, investigators said that a man was stabbed and slashed in the neck and left cheek near Eastern Parkway and Classon Avenue at around 5:30 a.m. He was taken to New York Methodist Hospital in stable condition, according to police.

Public Advocate Letitia James released a statement condemning the “senseless violence and loss of life” at the festival.

“Several incidents marred what the vast majority of New Yorkers wanted to be a joyful and peaceful celebration of West Indian culture and heritage,” James said in the statement released on Monday. “My thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones of the young man and young woman who were killed, and with the victims for whom we wish a speedy recovery.”

This isn’t the first year the festival as seen violence. Last year, Carey Gabay, a former aide to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, was struck by a bullet intended for someone else. He died of his injuries days after the festival.

In response, police and community leaders stepped up efforts to tamp down potential violence by bringing in 3,400 police officers to monitor the event — double the amount of officers assigned to the festival last year.

The NYPD also set up 250 light towers and placed 45 cameras along the route of the parade and at other “trouble spots,” Chief Steven Powers said.

Police also conducted several raids, made 35 arrests and seized 10 firearms in Crown Heights ahead of the festival.

“This was a concentrated effort to execute the case prior to J’Ouvert,” NYPD Capt. Joseph Matzinger said during a conference call with reporters on Friday.

Despite another year of violence, de Blasio, Adams and other community leaders vowed to continue to the tradition of J’Ouvert next year.

“We will find a way to continue to do that in a safe environment,” Adams said.

De Blasio said a review of this year’s event will take place so that city officials can improve safety for next year.

The annual J’Ouvert celebration takes place the night before the West Indian Day Parade.

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