1 dead, 11 wounded in shooting on playground in Brooklyn

BROWNSVILLE, Brooklyn (WABC) -- Police are searching for at least two shooters after gunfire erupted during an event at a playground in Brooklyn Saturday night, leaving 12 people shot, one fatally.

The shooting happened just before 11 p.m. at a park near Christopher Avenue and Hegeman Avenue in Brownsville.

The gunfire broke out toward the end of an annual community celebration, the Old Timers Event, and sent people running for their lives.

The crowd at the celebration, which features musical performances from former residents and current local talent, was dispersing when the shooting began in a playground area, officials said.

A 38-year-old man was shot in the head and pronounced dead at Brookdale Hospital. He has been identified as Jason Pagan.
One other person is in critical condition.

Seven of the shooting victims were male and five were female, with their ages ranging from 21-55.

NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill said there were more than 100 officers and anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 people at the gathering, which he called a "great event" that had been held for years.

"Once I heard the pop, pop, you come from the streets, the instinct is get out of the way," said one of the shooting victims, Anthony Davis.

But he couldn't, as he was right in the middle of the chaotic scene. "I was scared at that time cause I didn't want to die here," said Davis.

A bullet pierced the 56-year-old's back. "If you've never been shot the last thing you want to do is feel lead, hot lead in your back or any part of your body," said Davis, a father of seven.

The investigation into the shooting has focused on the criminal history of the person killed, Jason Pagan.

Authorities say he had been arrested 26 times and recently spent time in state prison for attempted criminal possession of a weapon.

He is considered one of the shooting's intended targets, although it is not known if he was involved in the gunfire.

A .9mm handgun was recovered in a woman's purse at the shooting scene, but no gun was recovered near Pagan's body.

Ballistics tests indicate a .40 caliber handgun was also fired. It has not been recovered

So far police do not have a suspect and there have been no arrests. It is not yet clear what led to the gunfire.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the incident "shattered a peaceful neighborhood event."

"I want to make really clear this tragedy does not define Brownsville, does not define the people of Brownsville, does not define what's happening on the ground in a community that has worked so hard and come so far," said the mayor.
State Sen. Roxanne J. Persaud expressed frustration with the shooting, which she called "unacceptable" and "cowardly."

"Our community mourns again. We should be able to have fun in open spaces without fear of violence," tweeted Persaud, whose district includes Brownsville. "Respect your community. We are better than the violence."

Community leaders expressed their outrage over the incident and another shooting last week in which a teen was wounded in a Brooklyn park.

"There's nothing our politicians can do at this point except support those that are on the ground out here," said community advocate Tony Herbert. "But what we have to say to our communities is we have to step up. We had this conversation when a 13-year-old was just shot in Bed Stuy. We have to step up as a community. We can't keep allowing this to happen and be passe."

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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