The man killed in a mass shooting at a Brooklyn block party may have been firing back at the suspects who sprayed him and 11 others with bullets Saturday night, police sources said.
Investigators are looking into whether Jason Pagan, 38, was the intended target of the 11 p.m shooting during the “Old Timers’ Day” block party in Brownsville. Sources said the shooting may have stemmed from a feud between a Bloods crew and another gang.
On Sunday, the city’s top cop vowed to find the shooters, who fled Brownsville Playground immediately after the shots were fired around 11 p.m. Saturday.
“It was not a good night in Brownsville,” O’Neill said in an interview on NY1 Sunday. “This is a great event, been going on a long time. I’m sure we’re going to figure out who did this and bring them to justice.”
The shooting occurred on day two of the popular block party. Its sponsors include Councilwoman Inez Barron, Assemblyman Charles Barron and Assemblywoman Latrice Walker.
“We’re here because something happened that shouldn’t have happened,” Mayor de Blasio said at a press conference at the scene of the shooting Sunday. “What happened last night interrupted an event, the Old Timers’ event, that had been held successfully and peacefully for decades, interrupted a moment that up until that time had been an example of everything good about the Brownsville community.”
“I want to make really clear this tragedy does not define Brownsville, does not define the people of Brownsville, does not define what is happening on the ground in a community that has worked so hard and come so far,” he added.
Old Timers’ Day, an annual two-day celebration for Brownsville residents, had officially ended at the time of the shooting. The Saturday event hosted local performers and dancing throughout the evening.
“The second night the event went off, people were partying, having a good time and again celebrating,” said NYPD Assistant Chief Jeffrey Maddrey. “We got to the close of the event a few minutes before 11 o’clock inside the park area, the playground area … That’s when the gunshots began.”
Over 100 cops were assigned to the block party that had between 2,000 and 3,000 revelers, according to O’Neill. Still, he said, “People felt emboldened enough to shoot other people.”
Burchell Marcus, 61, a Brooklyn community director, said he was with cops when he heard at least 14 shots.
“I saw at least four or five people hit. There was a guy inside the fence. He was face down. He had on a white shirt but they ripped it off,” he said. “He had several bullet wounds to the torso. He had a wound in the back of the head.”
“They flipped him over and I realized the bullet went through his head,” Marcus added. “One eye was bulging out. They said there was a pulse but he wasn’t going to make it.”
Police found one firearm, which they taped off in the playground scene. Police could not confirm if that was the weapon used in the fatal shooting. NYPD Deputy Chief Michael Kemper of the Brooklyn North detective bureau said police believe the shooters fired at least two guns.
Of the 11 wounded, six are men and five are women, ranging in age from 21 to 55.
One man in “very critical” condition is “fighting for his life,” Maddrey said Sunday.
A thick brassiere may have spared the life of a Bedford-Stuyvesant woman who was grazed in the back by a bullet.
“They said basically my bra saved me,” Daniesa Murdaugh, 21, said Sunday. “If my bra wasn’t there, it would’ve went further into the skin.”
The sister of 55-year-old victim Anthony Davis said her brother was shot in the back and is in stable condition.
“He was getting ready to leave,” Wendy Davis, 50, told the Daily News. “He was with his wife and family.”
“They still have him in the emergency section. They can’t find the bullet,” she added. “He’s in good spirits but he’s not happy. He goes to Old Timers’ Day every year.”
The father of 26-year-old Terrence Edwards said a bullet grazed his son, who was released from the hospital Sunday morning.
“It hit him in the knuckles,” William Edwards told The News. “He’s lucky. We’re all thankful.”
Police have made no arrests and are asking the public’s help identifying and locating the shooters.
“If anyone has any video before the event, during the event, before the shooting, during the shooting and maybe after the shooting, please, please turn that over to us,” O’Neill said.
On Sunday, Sergeants’ Benevolent Association President Ed Mullins called for O’Neill’s firing after the shooting. Quoting an email from an anonymous member of the NYPD, he said that police at the block party were ordered to treat a hostile crowd there with kid gloves.
“NYC is slowly crumbling” Mullins wrote Sunday. “Don’t say you weren’t warned. Restore the NYPD — REMOVE O’NEILL!”
NYPD spokesman Sgt. Brendan Ryan called the allegations in the anonymous letter “silly and false,” and said police made arrests in the area as warranted.
In an unrelated incident three hours after the Brownsville shooting, a man was shot to death just over two miles away in Canarsie.
The 24-year-old man was shot once in the head about 2 a.m. Sunday on Ave. K near E. 85th St. He was rushed to Kings County Hospital but could not be saved, police said. His name was not immediately released.
With John Annese
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