An inseparable part of the West Indian-American Day Parade is a nighttime celebration called J’ouvert. It is a night feared and dreaded by the police, both for their own safety and the amount of people who get shot and stabbed throughout the night. This year was no different, with a number of fatalities as well as people shot and stabbed all around the area.
J’ouvert literally translates into ‘dawn/day break,’ and is a celebration marked by a booze filled night accompanied by calypso/soca style bands and dancing through the streets. The festival starts well before dawn and peaks a few hours after sunrise.
The following is an incomplete list of some of the violence that marked this year’s celebrations:
* The violence erupted early, just outside of Crown Heights on Blake Street and Alabama Avenue, where a man was shot dead at around 10:30pm.
* 12:30am, two people were shot on East 54th Street and Clarendon Road. Their condition is unknown.
* 12:50am, three people were shot on Lenox Avenue and East 51st Street; one of the victims was rushed to the hospital in critical condition.
* 3:00am, a man was stabbed on the corner of St. Marks Place and Rochester Avenue; police were searching for two assailants that fled the scene. A level one mobilization was called.
* 3:40am, a man was stabbed on Albany Avenue and Rutland Road, his condition is unknown.
* 4:00am, a large mob formed on Empire Boulevard and Bedford Avenue; police called for emergency backup. There were no reported injuries.
* 4:20am, police began chasing a man on a yellow dirt bike on Utica Avenue and Winthrop Street, after he shot at people indiscriminately.
* 4:27am, a man was shot on Linden Boulevard and Nostrand Avenue. A level one mobilization was called. The victim was shot in the chest and rushed to the hospital in grave condition.
* 4:30am, police chased a man in a white tank top on Rutland Road between East 95th Street and East 96th Street for firing shots.
* 4:32am, a large mob formed on Carroll Street and Bedford Avenue. Police called for emergency backup. There were no reported injuries.
* 4:59am, police arrested one man with a gun on Winthrop and East 93rd Street. Police spot the yellow dirt bike on Blake Avenue and East 98th Street.
* 5:08am, police apprehended the dirt biker on Atlantic Avenue and Eastern Parkway.
* 5:29am, a man was stabbed in the neck on New York and Church Avenues.
* 6:00am, shots were fired inside a crowded McDonalds on Empire Boulevard, and the shooter fled down Washington Avenue towards Lefferts. Panic and mayhem ensued and a number of people were trampled in the stampede. Later, one person was found shot at the location. Update: the victim was a female who is now listed as in grave condition at the hospital.
CrownHeights.info was informed that these were only but a handful of the serious incidents, and that police were busy the entire night handling other assaults and robberies.