BROOKLYN - A celebration of Caribbean heritage was in full swing Monday at the annual West Indian American Day Parade in Brooklyn, but the event was marred by some violence.
Police reported multiple shootings, one of them deadly, before the parade kicked off at 11 a.m. on Eastern Parkway. A man was fatally shot in Crown Heights and a suspect is in custody, according to police.
Last year, two people were fatally stabbed at the parade, and a man was shot to death in 2011. Another man was killed in broad daylight on the parade route years earlier.
Police Commissioner William Bratton said more than 4,000 police officers were deployed along the parade route, including dozens of undercover officers mingling with partygoers, and several police helicopters thundered above the festivities.
The parade celebrates Caribbean culture and echoes traditional pre-Lenten carnival festivities, with dancers wearing elaborate, feathered costumes. The event also provides one of the last big stages for politicians before the Sept. 9 primary.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams was this year's grand marshal, but other politicians made an appearance, including Mayor Bill de Blasio. De Blasio's wife, Chirlane McCray, who is of Caribbean decent, and their children, Dante and Chiara, joined him. Police Commissioner Bratton, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and City Council leaders also walked in the parade.
The parade shut down Eastern Parkway to vehicles and turned it into a barricaded, yet festive, environment from approximately Schenectady Avenue to Grand Army Plaza. Music could be heard in the streets as bands made their way down the usually busy traffic artery.
Vendors arrived early in the morning to finish cooking dishes and to set up shop for the hungry hordes of revelers. Workers spent the evening cleaning up after the festivities.
AP contributed to this story.