NEW YORK (AP) - Some city residents wondered Tuesday if it's time to pull the plug on the gaudy West Indian Day parade after three people, including a woman sitting outside her home, were shot to death just blocks from its route.
"I was saying to myself a while ago they probably should shut it down," said Winston Thomas, who moved from Jamaica to Brooklyn, site of the annual Caribbean-themed Labor Day parade.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg blamed illegal handguns for the shooting that killed three people and wounded two police officers near the parade route shortly after the parade ended Monday night, saying federal officials have not had the "courage" to take steps to control gun use.
Bullet fragments hit one police officer in the left arm and chest, and he was hospitalized but was expected to survive. Another officer was grazed by a bullet. Two gunmen were killed along with 56-year-old Denise Gay, who was shot while sitting on a stoop with her daughter just two doors down from the exchange of gunfire.
The gunshots rang out just after 9 p.m. Monday after the hours-long parade, which also was marred by fatal shootings in 2003 and 2005. Post-parade parties are common, but police wouldn't say if Monday's fatal shooting was related to the parade.
The shooting started as an exchange between two armed men, and when officers who had been assigned to parade duties arrived at the scene, they were fired upon and returned fire, police said.