NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — There was a break Tuesday in a shooting that killed a college student during the J’ouvert Caribbean pride celebration in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
As CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, police upon announcing the arrest in one of the shootings early Monday said they know who is responsible for the shooting that killed Tiarah Poyau, 22, and he was already in custody.
NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said Regenald Moise, 20, was charged with second-degree murder, criminal possession of a weapon, and reckless endangerment in connection with Poyau’s death. He was being held at the 70th Precinct station in Kensington, Brooklyn late Tuesday afternoon.
Poyau, a St. John’s University student, was killed after she was shot in the face near Washington Avenue and Empire Boulevard.
About four hours after Poyau was gunned down at the annual predawn J’ouvert festival early Monday, police said they unknowingly caught the suspect. At 8 a.m. Monday, they arrested Moise on allegations of driving while intoxicated and crashing into three cars on Parkside Avenue and Parade Place in Brooklyn.
“So he’s arrested for the DWI. When they pull him out of the car, his hand is cut up and is tied off with a Caribbean flag,” Boyce said. “It all starts to fit together.”
Boyce said it all began at 4:15 a.m. on Empire Boulevard and Washington Avenue. Police said Moise opened fire on a crowd celebrating J’ouvert.
One bullet struck Poyau in the head, police said.
Police said Moise then went to an apartment building on Montgomery Avenue, where a girlfriend agreed to hide his gun.
“At this point, he fires two rounds into the wall, and then he breaks a window — I’m sorry, a mirror — and he cuts his hand, and there’s blood on the mirror,” Boyce said.
Police said Moise left his gun at the apartment, and they recovered the firearm. Investigators also found a rare 9mm aluminum shell casing – the same type they recovered at the shooting scene on Empire Boulevard.
Police said ballistic evidence proved the casings came from the same recovered gun.
“We then talk to his friends and they tell, one of the individuals he spoke to said, ‘I think I shot somebody on the parade ground, and I didn’t know the gun was loaded,” Boyce said. “We then begin to speak to him, where goes on to state that he thinks he shot somebody: ‘The gun went off. I thought it was loaded. I’m not sure.’”
Poyau was one of two victims killed early Monday despite an expanded police presence at the annual festivities.
About 25 minutes before Poyau was shot, police said Tyreke Borel, 17, died after being shot in the chest around 3:50 a.m. Monday at Empire Boulevard and Flatbush Avenue.
A 72-year-old woman in the same location was also shot in the arm, police said. She was taken to the hospital in stable condition.
Boyce said the investigation into that shooting is still ongoing.
“We have a lot more work to go into that,” he said.
At least three other people also suffered injuries in separate incidents Monday, including a woman who was stabbed near Empire Boulevard and Ocean Avenue and a man in his 20s who was shot in the leg on Rogers and Clarkson avenues.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday that the annual J’ouvert celebration will get the city’s blessing next year despite the violence. As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, de Blasio’s vow came less than a week after he promised to make the violence-plagued event safer than ever – with more police officers and a requirement that the sponsors get a city permit.
This year, the NYPD doubled the amount of officers on the street and increased the number of floodlights from 40 to 200.
De Blasio asked him about his remarks.
Kramer: “I wonder if the city should be giving out permits to events were violence is expected.”
De Blasio:: “We don’t accept violence, ever. I remind you, for decades, permits were given to the Puerto Rican Parade, to the St. Patrick’s Parade, to the Caribbean Parade on Labor Day, and there was violence, and people bluntly expected it.”
Police sources said they could recall no shooting deaths from either the St. Patrick’s Day or Puerto Rican Day parades. Kramer also pointed out that the St. Patrick’s event was noted for drinking.
De Blasio: “That’s not the whole truth. It was a lot of different things. But the bottom line is we don’t accept any violence. We attempted an entirely different strategy this year. Permitting for the first time, and huge amounts of NYPD presence, didn’t get us far enough. We have to do more.”
De Blasio refused to say what doing “more” entailed, Kramer reported. This year alone, there were 3,400 officers – a detail larger than all but six police departments in the nation.
“It is shocking that people still have guns, and feel they have to go to a festival with guns,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. “I suppose you could do some kind of scanners.”
CBS2’s Kramer asked de Blasio about scanners and another issue.
Kramer: “Some people are wondering whether you might want to go back to stop, question and frisk during the period before J’ouvert to kind of send a message to people that it’s unacceptable to carry weapons.”
De Blasio: “Well Marcia, it’s never acceptable to carry weapons in this city, and the NYPD has been doing more and more to get guns off the street . We’re going to address a whole range of things that will make the event safer.”
The mayor is expected to tread very carefully in making changes to J’ouvert. Next year is an election year, and he needs the votes from the Caribbean community.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that some tough choices lie ahead, 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reported.
“I don’t know what else they could have done and I think the lesson is it’s not just about more police,” he said. “It’s going to take all of us working together to make a difference. It’s going to take the leaders of the community, it’s going to take the organizers of the parade, it’s going to take the participants of the parade.”
Meanwhile, a prayer vigil was held Monday night to remember the victims of the violence. Community leaders mourned the deaths and called for the shooter of 17-year-old Borel to turn himself in to authorities, 1010 WINS reported.
At the vigil, Brooklyn community activists and clergymen said canceling the parade is not the answer, CBS2’s Tracee Carrasco reported.
“If in fact that they stop it, it’s still going to take place, so do we control it so it doesn’t get out of hand and we save lives or do we let people just run amok?” said community activist Tony Herbert. “We have to be in control of this. We can’t just let it run haphazardly, because then we would probably lose more lives.”
The event has been marred by violence in the past. Two people were killed during last year’s celebration, including Carey Gabay, an aide to Cuomo, who police said was caught in the crossfire between two rival gangs.
Ahead of the festivities, fliers were distributed by police in conjunction with community groups that read in part: “This community will no longer tolerate this violence. Do not shoot anyone. Do not stab anyone.”
The investigations into Monday’s incidents are still ongoing.
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