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.