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J'Ouvert Shootings Leave 17-Year-Old Boy Among Dead

By  Rachel Holliday Smith Shaye Weaver and Eddie Small | September 5, 2016 8:58am | Updated on September 6, 2016 9:13am

 A J'Ouvert reveler walks by police officers lined up on Empire Boulevard and Bedford Avenue in Crown Heights early Monday morning.
A J'Ouvert reveler walks by police officers lined up on Empire Boulevard and Bedford Avenue in Crown Heights early Monday morning.
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DNAinfo/Rachel Holliday Smith

CROWN HEIGHTS — A 17-year-old boy and a woman were killed in shootings at Monday's J’Ouvert in Crown Heights that also left others injured, police said.

Tyreke Borel, 17, and Tiarah Poyau, 22, were fatally shot a block from each other along the route of the official J’Ouvert parade, the NYPD said.

The first shooting was on Flatbush Avenue and Empire Boulevard just before 4 a.m. when Borel was hit in the chest and rushed to Kings County Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, officials said.

Less than 30 minutes later, shots rang out on Empire Boulevard between Washington Avenue and McKeever Place, killing Poyau who was shot in the face, police said.

Franklin Phillip, who lived in the same building as Borel, described him as a very polite young man who was interested in fixing cars.

 An ambulance heads down Empire Boulevard shortly after shots rang out on the street during J'Ouvert on Monday morning.
An ambulance heads down Empire Boulevard shortly after shots rang out on the street during J'Ouvert on Monday morning.
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DNAinfo/Rachel Holliday Smith

"He was a harmless kid. He was a little gentleman," Phillip said.

"He was very quiet and was always coming and going by himself or with one or two friends."

The initial investigation of the two shootings delayed the J’Ouvert parade, which had begun at 4 a.m. at Grand Army Plaza and was on its way down Flatbush Avenue to head east on Empire Boulevard when the violence broke out.

At least two other shootings happened close to the parade route before 7 a.m., police said. Two victims from those incidents, including a 72-year-old woman who was shot in the left arm at the same time and place where Borel was hit, are currently at local hospitals but are expected to survive.

Mayor Bill de Blasio promised to make J'Ouvert "safer than ever" following years of violence during the event, which is a precursor to the Labor Day Parade.

He said in a press conference following the shootings that the city would never accept this level of violence and that a full review of the events would determine what needs to be done moving forward.

"I'm saddened that this happened," he said. "But I'm resolute that we have to do more."

 See pictures of this year's J'Ouvert here

The NYPD significantly ramped up security at the annual pre-dawn celebration this year, officially permitting the event for the first time, doubling the number of police officers to more than 3,400 and hanging posters in the neighborhood warning “do not shoot anyone.”

There were also 45 cameras and more than 250 light towers installed, according to Assistant Chief Steven Powers, who oversees Patrol Borough Brooklyn South for the NYPD.

The push to reduce violence during J’Ouvert follows two fatalities during the event in 2015, including the death of 43-year-old Carey Gabay, an attorney in the administration of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Gabay was hit by a stray bullet in a gang-related shooting that took place during J'Ouvert outside the Ebbets Field apartments, located close to Monday's fatal shootings.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said he was confident that police would find the people responsible for marring the day with violence and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams echoed him.

"We need to be clear — we do not surrender to violence. Violence surrenders to us," Adams said.

"We are not going to apologize for the people who used violence. We are going to imprison them."