Brooklyn lawmakers expressed their outrage and grief over Saturday’s shooting near the Brownsville Recreation Center that killed one 38-year-old man and left 11 wounded, including one man who is still in critical condition.

According to NYPD officials, two suspects opened fire on the Brownsville Old Timers Reunion Night block party around 11:00pm Saturday at a playground near Christopher and Hegeman avenues where hundreds of residents celebrated, reports amNY. Details about the suspects have not been released yet.

Brownsville’s Old Timer’s Reunion Night has been held annually on the final weekend of July since 1963. The two-day block party celebrates the community with live music and dancing and has gone on without incident until now, said Assistant Chief Jeffrey Maddrey of the NYPD’s Brooklyn North division at a press conference on Sunday.

“The event celebrates the people who live here in Brownsville, people who lived here and left and want to come back and reconnect with friends and rebuild relationships,” said Maddrey. “And it really celebrates the values of this community.”

Lawmakers and advocates announced today the launch of the Brownsville Rapid Response Coalition (BRRC) formed in response to the Older Timer’s Day Mass Shooting. The group will meet tonight at the Brownsville Recreation Center, 1555 Linden Boulevard, for a march through Brownsville to demonstrate that Saturday’s tragic shooting should not be normalized or reduced.

“A mass shooting requires a massive response and subsequently resources to address the issue,” the coalition announced. “The Brownsville Rapid Response Coalition will move to be present and support all community events with presence, services and more.”

Brooklyn elected officials stressed that the violence seen on Saturday night does not represent the community’s spirit nor would it deter the work it’s done over the years to combat violence.

“I want to be clear that this incident does not define Brownsville,” said Borough President Eric Adams. “This neighborhood wants what all communities throughout our city want: to live without fear of violence, in peace and security.”

Photo credit: PA Jumaane Williams / Twitter

Assemblymember Latrice Walker, who lost her brother to gun violence more than three decades ago, vowed to work with elected officials and the NYPD to get guns off the streets. 

“I’m truly disappointed that a community tradition ended in bloodshed,” said Walker. “This was an isolated occurrence and the violence does not define the community of Brownsville, nor Old Timer’s Day weekend. We are constantly working together to combat gun violence and we have had great strides in the process but clearly, there is more work to be done.”

State Senator Roxanne Persaud felt frustrated by the violence that occurred despite the community’s best efforts to prevent it.

“The shootings in Brownsville are unacceptable and those who committed the cowardly acts should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” said Persaud. “We should be able to have fun in open spaces without fear of violence. Respect your community. We are better than the violence.”

Despite an overall decline of homicide in the city, Brooklyn continues to see a surge in shootings, and it’s increasingly affecting innocent bystanders in neighborhoods like Brownsville, East New York, Bedford Stuyvesant and Crown Heights. In Brooklyn North Precincts, which includes Brownsville’s 73rd, shootings have spiked to 101 from 79, which means a nearly 28 percent increase from the previous year. 

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams decried the “plague of gun violence that infects our city and our nation is devastating and pervasive.”

“Our country experiences a mass shooting nearly every day, although it doesn’t always make the headlines,” said Williams. “And the acts of gun violence occurring daily on the streets are themselves one continuous mass shooting. Every act of violence is a tragedy, each loss heartbreaking. We cannot become numb to that pain or to the incidents that cause it, we must meet each with strength, resolve and action toward preventing the next.”

NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill urged the public on Sunday to share any information that can help find the suspects. Brooklynites who attended Brownsville Old Timers Reunion Night and who have taken photos or video should contact the CrimeStoppers hotline at 800-577-TIPS or online at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org.

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