Mayor Bill de Blasio, foreground, makes his way along Eastern Parkway in the Brooklyn borough of New York as he takes part in the West Indian Day Parade, Monday, Sept. 7, 2015. (Tina Fineberg/Associated Press)
By Jonathan Lemire | AP
NEW YORK — The West Indian Day Parade, a rollicking, colorful celebration of Caribbean culture, music, style and food, rolled through New York City’s streets Monday but, once again, was marred by pre-dawn violence that left one man dead and an aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo in critical condition.
Cuomo identified his wounded staffer as Carey Gabay, a first deputy general counsel at the Empire State Development Corporation. Gabay was walking with his brother near the Brooklyn parade route at 3:40 a.m. when he was caught in the crossfire between two gangs, according to police officials.
The pair had been walking back from a pre-parade party celebrating West Indian Day.
A bullet struck Gabay, 43, in the head. Cuomo said Gabay is a Harvard-educated lawyer who had worked as an assistant counsel to the governor.
“I’m the governor of the state of New York, and there’s not a thing I can do,” Cuomo told reporters after he visited Gabay’s family at Kings County Hospital. “There’s not a thing I can say, and there’s nothing I can do. And sometimes it just hurts.”
Gabay’s condition remained critical on Monday night following surgery, according to a governor spokeswoman.
No arrests have made been, police said. The shooting was one of several outbursts of violence in the neighborhoods surrounding the parade, which included the stabbing death of a 24-year-old man at 2 a.m. near Grand Army Plaza.
Bloodshed before or after the West Indian Day celebration has become a sadly familiar part of the parade routine. Last year, a recent parolee opened fire into a crowd of revelers, killing one man and wounding several others. And in 2013, a 1-year-old boy sitting in his stroller was killed by a bullet meant for his father.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton dismissed talk of scuttling the pre-parade festivities — which center on a surreal midnight march known as J’Ouvert — and said the New York Police Department was working with local leaders to make the event safer. There was a heavy police presence along the route, and several NYPD helicopters hovered overhead.