NEW YORK - New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg today blamed illegal handguns and lack of courage by federal officials for the shooting that left three people dead Monday night in Brooklyn. The violence took place a few blocks away from the City's annual West Indian Day Parade.
Bystander Denise Gay was killed while sitting on a stoop with her daughter. The two gunmen were were also killed. One police officer was hit in the left arm and chest. He was hospitalized but was expected to survive. Another officer was grazed by a bullet.
The authorities say that more than 7 people were shot in and around the parade route.
At today's press conference Bloomberg said Gay's death was "a senseless murder, and another painful reminder I think of what happens when elected officials in Washington fail to take the problem of illegal guns seriously."
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the gunman who killed Gay had an extensive criminal history, including criminal possession of a firearm and assault and drug charges.
"This is a national problem requiring national leadership," Bloomberg said, "but at the moment neither end of Pennsylvania Avenue has had the courage to take basic steps that would save lives."
This is not the first year the annual Labor Day parade has been marred by violence. In both 2003 and 2005 fatal shootings occurred.
Meanwhile, NYC Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly is ordering an investigation into Monday's handcuffing of a city councilman and a city hall staffer during the Parade.
According to local reports the incident took place after Councilman Jumaane Williams and Kirsten John Foy, director of community affairs for the city's public advocate, walked in a "frozen zone."
Both, along with a group of government staffers and supporters, were walking to a reception at the Brooklyn Museum when officers surrounded them and spoke to them in loud tones.
Williams was wearing an official city council pin, according to the Times. At one point, Foy was thrown to the ground and he was handcuffed, the Times reports.
The parade celebrates the culture of the Caribbean islands and is one of the city’s largest outdoors events.