‘We Saw People Dropping’: How a Brooklyn Rite of Summer Ended in Bloodshed

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The mass shooting at the Brownsville Old Timers Day block party stunned a city where violence has dropped but gang shootings still take a toll. ImageResidents held an anti-violence march in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn on Monday.CreditCreditJohn Taggart for The New York TimesJul 30, 2019[What you need to know to start the day: Get New York Today in your inbox.]Anthony Davis said he had just parted ways with an old friend at the Brownsville Old Timers Day block party when he heard a woman warn that a fight was about to break out. Dominique Jefferson said he spotted a man reaching into his pants and thought the stranger was going for a gun. Nearby stood Jason Pagan, a 38-year-old reputed member of the Bloods street gang who had gotten out of prison six months earlier after serving time for a gun charge. Seconds later, Mr. Pagan was fatally shot.The shooting also wounded 11 other people, jolting a city where violence has declined but the police say gang feuds have fueled a rise in shootings that have killed and wounded more than a dozen bystanders this year, including a 7-year-old. Investigators were looking for at least two people linked to Saturday’s shooting, but had made no arrests as of Tuesday evening.ImagePeople dancing on Saturday afternoon at Brownsville Old Timers Day a few hours before the shooting. CreditAllen M. PierreThe gunfire started a few minutes before 11 p.m. after partygoers had sung “Family Reunion” by the O’Jays and had begun filing home from the Brownsville Playground, at Hegeman and Christopher Avenues. Some in the crowd used canes, walkers and wheelchairs. But younger groups of people were just arriving and congregating on the playground, witnesses said.Friends had been inviting Mr. Pagan to the block party in Brooklyn for years, they said, and on Saturday night, he finally had agreed to stop by on his way to another gathering.“I gave him a great big hug,” said Raven Fason, who described herself as a close friend of Mr. Pagan. Witnesses told the police that Mr. Pagan, 38, got into an argument with two men — one in a button-down shirt and the other in a white shirt and dark shorts, who was seen holding a gun. Mr. Davis, 55, a retired coach for the Police Athletic League, said he heard a woman’s voice warning, “They getting ready to start.” Before anyone could run, he said, the shooting started.ImageAnthony Davis, a former basketball coach for the Police Athletic League, was woun

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