Brooklyn shooting: 1 dead, 11 injured in horror mass shooting at playground during crowded local event
The area was crowded with locals at the time who were celebrating an annual community block party in its 56th year.
Update: Twelve people were hit — seven men and five women between the ages of 21 and 55. Police believe two shooters were involved in the incident.
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK: At least one person died and 11 others, including a child, were injured after a gunman opened fire at Brownsville Playground in Brooklyn at around 11 p.m. on Saturday night. Reports state that the area was crowded with locals at the time who were celebrating an annual community block party in its 56th year, with the event titled 'Old Timers Week.'
It is believed that two shooters were involved in the incident and are still at large as authorities have launched a hunt to nab them. Reports state that the shooters opened fire despite a contingent of nearly 100 officers monitoring the event, according to The New York Post.
Shortly after shooting, multiple EMS response teams swarmed Mendoza Park at Christopher and Hegeman avenues and rushed the victims to nearby hospitals. Twelve people were shot, including a 38-year-old man who was dead on arrival at a local hospital, a New York City police spokesman said around 3:30 a.m. Sunday.
"I’ve never heard of 12 people shot in one incident — ever,” one veteran investigator told the outlet. Authorities who combed the site found one abandoned firearm discarded among cups and bottles littered on the ground after the festival.
One witness told the outlet that the gunfire came as a complete surprise to them and was not a result of any altercation at the festival. "I heard shots and I ducked. When I stuck my head up, and the smoke cleared, it was pure pandemonium," the witness recalled.
Mayor Bill de Blasio took on Twitter shortly after midnight to condemn the incident, and said: "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."
Authorities have not revealed whether they have identified any suspects in connection with the incident.
Another witness, 60-year-old Gary Miller said: “It was chaos. People were breaking down, having outbursts,” he said. “We were enjoying the evening and all of a sudden shots rang out,” he remembered. Shots rang out and the crowd was already dispersing and you heard about 9 to 11 shots and everyone was running and scattering for cover.”
Videos posted on social media showed police clearing large groups of people out of the area around the recreation center 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.
Brownsville is a neighborhood that’s continued to struggle with gun violence, even as New York streets become 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,” de Blasio tweeted.
State Sen. Roxanne J. Persaud echoed de Blasio, adding the hashtags ”#StopTheViolence” and ”#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.”
Police have not identified the 38-year-old killed Saturday night.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-8477 or for Spanish, 1-888-577-4782. Tips can also be sent to the NYPDTips Twitter account or submitted online at NYPDCrimeStoppers.com.