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Suspect Arrested for J'Ouvert Murder of Tiarah Poyau, Police Say

 Tiarah Poyau, 22, was shot and killed at Monday's J'Ouvert festival.
Tiarah Poyau, 22, was shot and killed at Monday's J'Ouvert festival.
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Facebook/Tiarah Poyau

BROOKLYN — A suspect has been arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of a St. John University graduate at Monday’s J’Ouvert celebration, one of two deadly shootings at the predawn festival, DNAinfo New York has learned.

Regenald Moise, 20, of Brooklyn, was taken into custody and was expected to face murder charges, NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said at a press conference Tuesday.

Moise was picked up early Tuesday morning after he crashed into three cars while driving drunk four hours after the murder of Tiarah Poyau, 22, who was shot “point blank” in the head on the J'Ouvert parade route, sources told “On the Inside.” He has five prior arrests, all sealed, Boyce said.

Sources initially described Moise as a “person of interest” and said he was apparently drunk at the time of the shooting, which may have been an accident.

The violence broke out on Empire Boulevard between Washington Avenue and McKeever Place as Poyau walked along the street with three girlfriends around 4:00 a.m., Boyce said.OK

The shooting happened moments after police swooped in and broke up a drunken fight nearby, arresting two people, source said. It's not clear if Moise was involved in that fight.

Shortly after the shooting, Boyce said Moise stashed the gun in a female friend's apartment in the area, asking her, “Would you mind if I put my gun in your apartment?”

While he was there, he fired the .9mm twice into a wall in her home, broke a mirror and cut his hand, Boyce said. One of the bullets penetrated the wall into the apartment next door, and the neighbor called police, according to the New York Post.

When investigators arrived at they found aluminum shell casings, similar to what was found at the scene where Poyau was killed, Boyce said. The casings ended up matching those used in the murder.

He then left the apartment, driving drunk to Parkside Avenue where police caught up with him around 8 a.m. after he crashed into three cars, Boyce said.

"He’s driving on three wheels, apparently intoxicated," he said on Tuesday.

When investigators spoke with Moise after his arrest, he told detectives "he thinks he shot somebody," then asked for a lawyer.

Boyce described 22-year-old Poyau as a "stellar person" and student with no criminal history. 

Before her death, she had interned at the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers this year and in 2015, the company said. She also studied accounting at St. Johns University, according to her LinkedIn profile. 

 Police Commissioner Bratton, center, speaks about preparation for J'Ouvert with Mayor de Blasio, left, and Chief Steven Powers of Brooklyn South in Prospect Park on Wednesday.
Police Commissioner Bratton, center, speaks about preparation for J'Ouvert with Mayor de Blasio, left, and Chief Steven Powers of Brooklyn South in Prospect Park on Wednesday.
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DNAinfo/Rachel Holliday Smith

A resident of East New York, Poyau had previously attended Medgar Evers College Preparatory School in Crown Heights, the account said.

Poyau said her “greatest achievement” was studying abroad in France, Italy and Spain in 2014.

“I was given the opportunity to push my limits and be responsible for my personal growth and development journey,” she wrote on the LinkedIn page.

Roughly a half-hour before Poyau was killed, a second victim, Tyreke Borel, 17, was struck and killed in a separate shooting when two members of rival gangs got into an argument and opened fire on each other. Borel, who was an innocent bystander, sources said, was fatally wounded by either a .25 or .380 caliber weapon according to Boyce.

Sources said a suspect in that shooting has yet to be identified.

The two murders, along with other violence, again marred the annual Caribbean celebration despite a heavier than usual police presence and warnings to the community that violence would not be tolerated.

Last year, a top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Carey Gabay, 43, was shot in the head and killed as he attended the festivities.

An NYPD official told “On the Inside” that police involvement next year would likely be even greater and “more hands on.”

“It’s difficult to police because the parade takes place literally where everyone lives, and they just walk out of their home into the streets,” he said, comparing it to other parades that were once unruly, such as the Puerto Rican Day or St. Patrick’s Day Parades, which the NYPD found ways to control.

The official said they may have to shorten the festivities next year, but that will take a lot of political will to accomplish.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the ramped-up NYPD presence this year was necessary and appropriate, but the outcome was not what they had hoped for and he left open the possibility of having no celebration next year.

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.