Celebration turned to tragedy when violence at the annual West Indian Day Parade in Brooklyn, New York, claimed the lives of two people on Monday.
One of the victims, Tiarah Poyau was a college student attending St. John’s University. She was an international tax interns at PricewaterhouseCoopers, according to the New York Post. The high achiever had also studied abroad in Paris, Rome, Seville, and Spain.
“It’s a tragedy that hits too close to home,” said Poyau’s neighbor, 57-year-old Anna Jackson, who called for the end of the parade.
The other victim was 17-year-old Tyreke Borel, a high school student. His mother, Alima St. Clair, had reportedly urged her son not to attend the J’ouvert festivities.
“I told him to be safe. I asked him to stay, but 17-year-olds, they don’t want to stay home,” St. Clair told the Post, adding, “I just want my Tyreke.”
In the wake of the tragedy, many members of the community are calling for the parade to end. Although the city has ramped up its effort to provide a bigger police presence, every year the event is met with bloodshed.
Around 3,400 officers were assigned to the event Sunday, compared to last year’s 1,700. Forty-five cameras were set up, and 250 light towers were deployed, NBC reports.
“In planning these events, we always plan for the worst and hope for the best,” said NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton. “We met repeatedly with the organizers, met with community, business, religious leaders in an effort to ensure a safe event.
“Despite these high hopes, we had unfortunate tragedy once again,” he said. “That will not deter us or what we’ll do next year.”
Hopefully, by this time next year, more action will be taken to prevent more senseless deaths.