Teen charged with shooting 5 during unofficial Caribbean J’Ouvert

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New York police on Tuesday charged a 15-year-old boy in the shooting of a 6-year-old child, his mother and three others during an unofficial Caribbean J’Ouvert celebration in Brooklyn on Labor Day Monday.

Police said they have charged Donovan Bailey, of Brooklyn, for the shooting and for carrying a Glock pistol.

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said Bailey would also be charged as an adult.

Police said they charged another man, Kervins Noel, 21, of Queens, 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.

Police said the 6-year-old, his mother and the three men were shot in the feet or legs.

Police said a barrage of gun shots were fired shortly before 3:00 a.m. on Monday, at the intersection of Nostrand Avenue and Crown Street, in Crown Heights.

The 6-year-old boy was shot in his left leg and rushed to the nearby, sprawling Kings County Hospital in Central Brooklyn, with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

They said the child’s mother, Patricia Brathwaite, 47, and three men — all adults — were also shot and hospitalized.

“We had two individuals pull out firearms and just start shooting at a crowd,” New York Police Department (NYPD) Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison told reporters.

Police said the incident occurred near a massive outdoor gathering of people celebrating J’Ouvert.

In view of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Brooklyn-based J’Ouvert City International, Inc., organizers of the annual Caribbean J’Ouvert celebrations, cancelled all street celebrations this year, planning a virtual celebration instead on Monday.

The Brooklyn-based West Indian American Day Carnival Association (WIADCA), organizers of the annual, massive Caribbean carnival parade on Brooklyn’s Eastern Parkway, on Labor Day, which follows J’Ouvert, also cancelled the celebration and held virtual events.

But still, police said many took to the streets of Brooklyn for J’Ouvert on Labor Day, a public holiday in America, despite official warnings to stay away and the ubiquitous presence of police.

Brathwaite said she had just exited a cab and was heading home “when 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.

They said Bailey was also a suspect in a drive-by shooting last year in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn that left a 33-year-old man dead.

Police said Bailey was identified as a passenger in the car, but it was not clear whether Bailey had fired the gun.

On Tuesday, 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.

“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.

“I am extending my prayers for a speedy recovery to the victims of this weekend’s shootings, including a six-year-old boy and his mother,” she added. “The collective message for this Labor Day weekend could not have been more clear (clearer): stay home, avoid parties and celebrate the richness of the Caribbean Diaspora at home with your families.

“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, for example, 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.