After a joyful day of celebration at Brooklyn's West Indian American Day Parade Monday, violence once again marred the aftermath of the event when two men were fatally stabbed near the parade route.
The day had begun with booming reggae and calypso music, feathered headdresses and sequined costumes, as well as fluttering flags of several Caribbean countries over Brooklyn's Eastern Parkway.
But police said between 5:55 and 6:30 p.m., two men were killed. Earlier in the evening, two others, a man and a woman, were shot and a woman was stabbed and suffered minor injuries.
During the parade, tens of thousands of celebrants basked in the colors and sounds of the moment.
"The different nationalities, the different cultures, the different music, it's all here," said spectator Kenneth Rogers, 29, of Jamaica, Queens.
Denise Boyce, 58, of Canarsie, Brooklyn, attended the parade dressed entirely in Jamaica's colors. She wore sunglasses that read "50" for the country's anniversary of independence.
"We're here to celebrate our 50th anniversary and we did well in the Olympics," she said, shouting, "Usain Bolt!"
"It was a special treat for me to be with Harry Belafonte," Cuomo said of the legendary calypso singer who, at 85, served as grand marshal.
Last year, the event was marred by gun violence, with two police officers wounded and three people killed. Fatal shootings also occurred at parades in 2003 and 2005.
Monday, two stabbing victims were rushed to Kings County Hospital Center, where both were pronounced dead there. A 27-year-old man was stabbed in the neck about 5:55 p.m. at Bedford Avenue and Eastern Parkway, and a 26-year-old man was stabbed in the neck about 6:30 p.m. in front of 1394 St. John's Place, the NYPD said.
Less than an hour earlier, two people -- a 24-year-old woman and a 32-year-old man -- were shot in the hip along the parade route, the NYPD said. They were taken to Kings County Hospital Center and were in stable condition.
A woman was stabbed about 3:15 p.m. on Eastern Parkway, an FDNY spokesman said. She was treated at the scene. There were no suspects.
The annual overnight pre-parade festivities in Crown Heights, called J'Ouvert, historically a foil for violence, were celebrated without shootings, NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne said.
"The parade, if you go back decades, was much more chaotic. In recent years, less so," Browne said.
Spectator Robert Haynes, 55, of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, said he hesitated to attend because of last year's violence, but went to represent his native Trinidad. "I came earlier, because all the shootings happen at night," he said.
With Marc Beja