City Desk

A Tense Saturday for the Caribbean Parade

On Saturday, gunfire rang out near the corner of Georgia Avenue and Gresham Place NW, according to police, leaving four shot, and one man, Robert Foster, dead. The three other victims are hospitalized. The violence erupted at approximately 5:03 p.m., sometime after the nearby D.C. Caribbean Festival parade ended.

The day saw fisticuffs as well. Video on YouTube shows at least one brawl erupted in the area.

Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham has indicated that the shooting happened as a result of a neighborhood dispute, as has the anti-gang group Peaceoholics. According to Graham and the Peaceoholics, the shootings are connected to a gang rivalry that led to the February murder of Lucki Pannell.The 19-year-old Pannell was sitting outside her home when a gunman fired at friends of hers, but hit her instead.

Graham has told WAMU that a man who was an intended target in the Pannell shooting was also an intended target during Saturday's shooting, and that Foster wasn't involved with any violence: "For the second time in how many weeks or months, you know you have an intended target and you have innocent bystander dead."

A man who was only willing to identify himself as an organizer for the Caribbean Carnival emphasizes that the violence wasn't connected to the parade or the carnival event that happened at Howard University afterward. That doesn't mean the events went off without a hitch, though.

The organizer says the Metropolitan Police Department created tensions by rushing the parade, which had already had its usual route shortened by 1.5 miles by the city. That, he says, meant that a costume competition that's part of the parade couldn't happen. Members of the parade couldn't slow down for judges. MPD's hurry-up approach, he says, didn't stop when the procession ended: "They rushed everyone off the street. We didn't know that the plan was to rush everyone off the street." The organizer says participants were pushed. "The Caribbean community, in general, is in an uproar," he says.

It's not clear why MPD might have been prodding the parade toward its end. It could have been for security reasons. We've reached out to them and will update with an answer.

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  • Richard Gaskins

    All this violence was AFTER, LET ME TYPE THIS AGAIN…AFTER, the parade,which was over @ 1 because the city and the retail business, did not want this happen. The route was shortened, there was hardly any music, because the MPD said it was to loud, and What about the police office on the motorcycle, ( yes white) riding thru the crowd looking for trouble.

    How can you give a party and stop it just as it gets started, people traveled to be apart of that day, and the city. shut down everything too early. The people had know where to go!!

    Thank you to the city employees, who truly were there for the people. To that MPD officer on the motorcycle, WE ALL SAW YOU AND YOUR BADGE NUMBER!!!!

  • Typical DC BS

    Nice video of a bunch of kids going nowhere fast.

  • Steve

    This is why you can't have nice things, DC.

  • Keith Jarrell

    This year's Caribbean Festival Parade was just short of a disaster. First off it offered too many trucks that could have been decorated and far more festive than the U-Haul Logo on the side. Secondly, the route was shortened and this created blocks of Georgia Avenue left with nothing. The parade did start close to on time this year, but as it moved down Georgia Avenue, it was clear that it simply wasn't well attended by the politicians of the District.
    Bowser was all that showed up. She offered a very confusing 1/2 current Councilmember web page image mixed with a quick re-elect green theme. She offered little novelty items to throw to the crowds and was missing her normal green beads. The multi colored beads she did offer were scarce at best. I guess she is low on money to specnd this year too.
    The parade did offer festive dancers, and loud music. I was most impressed with the pan drummers from Philadelphia.
    It seems that the parade has lost it's excitement and now with the festival marred by a shooting and subsequent death it is likely not to take place next year.

  • Ron moten

    @Keith Jarrell: Are you the same guy who is running against Bowser in the next election?

  • Skipper

    "The Caribbean community, in general, is in an uproar"

    Maybe if the parade organizers ever got around to paying their bills for past parades, they'd have had their usual parade route.

    Instead, the organizers fail to pay their bills to the city, they plead poverty, and get major discounts from their idiot politicians.

  • Skipper

    One entertaining tangent from the parade debacle was the idiotic Twitter war between Bowser and Gray's idiot neighborhood services toadie.

    Don't try to look for it though, the toadie's Twitter account was deactivated after reporters started retweeting what he said was "official" responses of the Gray Administration.

  • SG

    Bowser was not the only politician at the parade. Both Jim Graham and Vincent Gray were there.
    I applaud the shortening of the route. In years past there were vast stretches of emptiness between the marchers. It was hard to tell whether the parade was over or if another group was coming.
    If people from the Caribbean are outraged it's because this parade is so weak. The only real Caribbean elements are the steel bands. Other than that you have a series of flatbed trucks with walls of speakers followed by a motley crew of mostly scantily-clad revelers. Not much of a celebration of Caribbean culture.

  • Southeast Ken

    I am sadden to see this video, but I’m not surprised by the violence that took place. Mayor Gray, the black DC Councilmembers, and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes-Norton should be addressing black on black violence in our city. Due to being political correct, black politicians are afraid to address this issue and white politicians don’t want to be called racist for addressing the issue.

    Mayor Vincent Gray and DC Councilman Kwame Brown has shown poor leadership. MPD have been silent too in regards to these 'savages' behavior near Howard University.

  • mick

    Black on black violence is making Bob Marley roll over in his grave Y'all

  • R.E

    The saying you get what you pay for holds true. Facts: Parade Organizers are broke so the city cuts them a break and shortens the route. The end result is that the crew tensions as as known to MPD are now forced to come together in a smaller area.
    On another note, I would love to see the figures of number of police per citizen at the spectacle on Ga Ave. On Pennsylvania Ave at the BBQ Fest on the same day the ratio of police to citizen was maybe 1 to 15 and there are no crws on PA Ave.
    The Parade Organizers' financial mismanagement results in less police and one death and an angry community of tax payers. Does MPD have a minimum police to citizen presence ratio requirement for a permit to be issued for a large gathering.
    Do the POCA laws suddenly become suspended in DC on the day of the Caribbean Day parade, because even though hell seems to have broken loose at 5pm, us residents contended with people enjoying weed and Henessey until 11pm on our stoops. There was no policing on the side streets.
    The next question is how long it took for EMS to reach the victim, according to eyewitnesses EMT could not get to Mr. Foster soon enough.
    Please take this spectacle to a contained space like RFK next year and take it out of these fragile neighborhoods that we are trying to build back! The said truth is nobody will want this mayhem in their community so those of us along Ga Ave will be stuck with this until they are no longer able to afford paying their bills.
    I spent many years in NY enjoying many West Indian Day parades and have never been as disgusted by the ineptitude and indifference of the police force and the local politicians as here in DC. DC- and MPD If you don't know how it is done and you clearly don't with 1 murder per parade as in the last two years, find out how NYPD does it. In NY at 5 pm, you can not even find a hot dog stand on the parade route, whereas in DC you can party till midnight.

  • Truth Hurts

    I can't believe serious people still care what Graham has to say about anything.

    I don't.

  • Gilbert For Mayor

    That was my first time attending this festival. It was my last time attending that festival. It was like Black Hawk Down.

  • Get Real

    The easiest way to keep these thugs off the street is to get rid of "Caribbean Fest" altogether. Each year it's nothing but problems.

    DC can't have anything because of a few groups of kids whose parents don't care that they're out there on the street recording fights, kicking guys in the head while they're on the ground, punching a guy in the back of the head and running, and those dumbass girls that wait until people fall on the ground to come over and kick at the pile.

    You don't see this kind of garbage in Virginia or even parts of Maryland

  • Mike D

    "The Caribbean community, in general, is in an uproar,"

    Good, maybe they'll go back to the Caribbean then.