BY NELSON A. KING
Police arrested a teenager for allegedly shooting a 6-year-old boy, his mother, and three others during an unofficial Caribbean J’Ouvert celebration in Crown Heights on Labor Day Monday.
A 15-year-old is facing charges for the shooting and for possession of a weapon, according to District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, who said he will charge the teen as an adult.
The teen allegedly fired a barrage of shots shortly before 3 am on Monday, shooting the six-year-old boy, his mother, and three other men in the feet and legs at the intersection of Nostrand Avenue and Crown Street, cops said.
The young boy and his mother, 47-year-old Patricia Brathwaite, were rushed to the hospital with non-life-threatening wounds. The other three adult victims were also hospitalized and expected to survive, authorities said.
Police said the incident occurred near a massive outdoor gathering of people celebrating J’Ouvert.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Brooklyn-based J’Ouvert City International, Inc. cancelled all in-person celebrations of J’Ouvert this year, and opted for a virtual celebration instead.
The West Indian American Day Carnival Association — which organizes the massive Caribbean carnival parade on Eastern Parkway that follows J’Ouvert every Labor Day — also cancelled the celebration and held virtual events.
But still, police said many revelers took to the streets for J’Ouvert despite a large police presence and official warnings to stay inside.
Brathwaite said she had just exited a cab and was heading home the shooting began.
“A group of people were walking down the block, and I was waiting for them to pass, and somebody started to shoot,” she told reporters. “I just got shot, and I turned around; my son was on the ground,” she added. “I didn’t see anyone pull a gun or shooting the gun.”
Police said Monday’s shooting appeared to be gang-related.
The teen arrested for Monday’s shooting was also suspect in a drive-by shooting last year in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn that left a 33-year-old man dead. Police said he was identified as a passenger in the car, and it was not clear whether or not he had fired the gun.
Cops also cuffed another man, Queens resident Kervins Noel, 21, for carrying a loaded handgun near the scene of the shooting in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn. Noel was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, police said.
Haitian American New York City Council Member Farah N. Louis, who represents the predominantly Caribbean 45th Council District in central Brooklyn, strongly denounced Monday’s shootings on Tuesday.
“It is outrageous that innocent bystanders, even children, are shouldering the burden and the scars for the reckless behavior of others,” she told Caribbean Life.
“The shooting in Crown Heights will not undermine our commitment to create safer communities for all,” Louis continued. “My colleagues and I will continue to advocate for additional resources to expand the footprint and local impact of Cure Violence organizations.”
Over the years, Caribbean J’Ouvert has been marred by gun violence near the parade route.
In 2015, a legal aide to New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo was fatally shot in the crossfire between rival gangs during the celebration.
The incident prompted the NYPD to move the J’Ouvert start time from 4 a.m. to 6 p.m., and to increase police presence and install metal detectors along the parade route.
This story first appeared on Caribbean Life.