“I’ve never heard of 12 people shot in one incident—ever,” an investigator told The Post, adding that “this is one of the worst, most brazen shootings I’ve ever seen.”
Gunfire broke out at around 11 p.m. on July 27, Fox5 reported, at a playground in the area of the Brownsville Recreation Center, where an annual Oldtimers Week event was taking place.
The Post reported that despite the presence of dozens of police officers, an unidentified suspect fired multiple rounds into the crowd.
Footage shared on social media showed police clearing the scene and the aftermath of what one witness described as “pure pandemonium.”
— J F (@JFNYC1) July 28, 2019
Scores of police and EMS response teams descended upon the area, with victims rushed to area hospitals.
“I heard shots and I ducked,” a 66-year-old event attendee told The Post. “When I stuck my head up, and the smoke cleared, it was pure pandemonium.”
#BREAKING At least 12 people shot near a park in Brownsville #Brooklyn. Shooting happen shortly before 11pm near New Lots Ave. Investigation ongoing. #NYPD #FDNY #EMS on the scene. @NY1 pic.twitter.com/z2VMdN2Spz
— Dean Meminger (@DeanMeminger) July 28, 2019
“It was chaos,” said 60-year-old Gary Miller, a vendor at the party, via The Post. “People were breaking down, having outbursts.”
A New York City police spokesman was cited by The Associated Press as saying that 12 people had been shot at the park.
A tweet by NYC Scanner claimed that one of the victims of the shooting was “dead on arrival.”
— NYC Scanner (@NYScanner) July 28, 2019
The Post reported that a discarded firearm was found on the scene and that the suspect remained at large.
At least six people had been transported to local hospitals by just after midnight, with some in serious condition, a New York City fire department spokesman said, via The Associated Press. He described the scene at the time as “fluid.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio called it a “terrible shooting” in an early morning tweet, adding that “Our hearts go out to the victims.”
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.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) July 28, 2019
While New York crime rates have seen a decline, the neighborhood of Brownsville has continued to struggle with gun violence.
According to The Associated Press, a 2010 newsletter from the parks department described the Brownsville Oldtimers Week 2019 as a celebration of “former members of the center who went on to success and fame in sports and other endeavors” that’s grown to include concerts and other events.
A Facebook event page shows a poster featuring photos of performers and the message: “All r welcome, let’s come in peace.”
Footage posted on Facebook sometime before the shooting showed people enjoying a peaceful, festive atmosphere that betrayed nothing of the tragedy to come.