A MASS shooting has devastated a New York City community, after a gunman opened fire during a park party, killing one person and injuring up to a dozen more.
Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted early Sunday morning that the shooting in the east Brooklyn neighbourhood of Brownsville “shattered a peaceful neighbourhood event.”
A New York City police spokesman said around 3:30am (local time) that 12 people had been shot, including a 38-year-old man who was dead on arrival at a local hospital. Police said the man was shot once in the head. The spokesman did not know the man’s identity.
No arrests have been made, and police did not offer any details about possible suspects.
Police did not have details regarding the conditions of the other 11 people injured and said the investigation was ongoing, as of 5:45am. At least six people had been transported to local hospitals by just after midnight, with some in serious condition, a New York City fire department spokesman said earlier. He described the scene at the time as “fluid.”
We had a terrible shooting in Brownsville tonight that shattered a peaceful neighborhood event. Our hearts go out to the victims.
We will do everything in our power to keep this community safe and get guns off our streets.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) July 28, 2019
Mayor de Blasio’s tweet didn’t include details about the community event, but a notice on the NYC Parks website said programming at the Brownsville Recreation Center next to the playground was cancelled because of this weekend’s annual ‘Old Timers Event’.
The city park venue is home to a playground, basketball court and other sport facilities.
A 2010 newsletter from the parks department described the event as a celebration of “former members of the centre who went on to success and fame in sports and other endeavours” that’s grown to include concerts and other events. A flyer for the dayslong celebration said the event was to begin at 6pm the night before on Hegermen Ave, in the vicinity of the site of the shooting.
Some of the block party’s attendees had travelled from across the country to go, according to Fox News.
Police later said they had found a firearm in the playground area of the park after the shooting,
Calls and emails to the offices of council members organising the celebration were not immediately returned, but Council Member Alicka Amprey-Samuel shared Mayor de Blasio’s tweet and added comments of her own.
Heartbroken by the awful shooting in Brownsville tonight. My prayers are with all the victims, their loved ones, and the entire community. https://t.co/CFOwJrvsF1
— Scott M. Stringer (@NYCComptroller) July 28, 2019
So disturbed to hear about this mass shooting in Brownsville.
And at such a great community event.
Prayers to the victims, their family and the entire area
We must follow that up with action now to prevent the spread of this violence disease.https://t.co/aHAYTdrzk3
— Jumaane Williams (@JumaaneWilliams) July 28, 2019
“One of the worst experiences of my life,” the council member for the 41st District tweeted. “How does such a beautiful and peaceful event become overshadowed by tragedy in seconds?” A man who answered a phone number listed online for one of the event’s scheduled performers, The Legendary Intruders, identified himself as band member Khalil Shabazz. He said his band had already performed and departed the venue before the shooting.
Videos posted on social media showed police clearing large groups of people out of the area around the recreation centre following the shooting. Photos from local news outlets showed several people taken from the scene on stretchers, including some with what appeared to be minor wounds.
“It was chaos,” Witness Gary Miller, 60, said.
“We were enjoying the evening and all of a sudden shots rang out … the crowd was already dispersing and you heard about 9 to 11 shots and everyone was running and scattering for cover.”
Local media reported that up to 100 police officers had been monitoring the event before shots were fired.
A food vendor at the event told the New York Daily News he hid under a bench to protect himself from being trampled as people fled the scene.
Brownsville is a neighbourhood that’s continued to struggle with gun violence, even as New York has seen its streets get safer than they have been in decades.
“We will do everything in our power to keep this community safe and get guns off our streets,” Mayor de Blasio tweeted.
State Sen. Roxanne J. Persaud echoed de Blasio, adding the hashtags “(hash) StopTheViolence” and “(hash) PutDownTheGuns” to her tweets expressing frustration with the shooting, which she called “unacceptable” and “cowardly.”
“Our community mourns again. We should be able to have fun in open spaces without fear of violence,” tweeted Persaud, whose district includes Brownsville. “Respect your community. We are better than the violence.”