This past weekend was anything but a tranquil holiday. Shootings around the city claimed 67 victims, 14 of whom died. The surge in gun violence made for one of the deadliest weekends in recent New York City History. One fatal incident occurred around the corner from the annual West Indian Day Parade route. Two gunmen exchanged fire, and the shooting left three dead and two police officers wounded.
Earlier that night, dozens of Columbians had journeyed downtown to attend the festivities, and several students came horrifyingly close to the shooting. One student, who wished to remain anonymous, traveled down with a group of 30 or so Columbians. He remembers standing next to a loud steel drum band, which obscured the sound of gun fire. “Suddenly,” he recounts, “everyone around me started running in one direction, ducking and hiding behind whatever they could find.” After a second cluster of gun shots, the crowd scattered. Police helicopters soon arrived on the scene. The student added that his fellow Columbians looked out for each other and made sure that no one was left behind even if they hadn’t met before that night. No Columbia students were hit during the incident, though the student added that a group of girls from Columbia was standing close enough to the shooting to see a victim fall before they were swept away by the mob. After the shooting, the police diverted the parade route, and the celebrations continued, leaving most unaware of what had happened.