Six people were shot, two fatally, as gunfire erupted outside a Brooklyn church after a crowded funeral on Monday night, the authorities said.
The shootings began about 8:30 p.m. outside the Emmanuel Church of God, a Pentecostal church in the 1300 block of Flatbush Avenue, near East 26th Street, the authorities said. It was not immediately clear how many people fired shots. As of 10 p.m., no one was in custody.
Investigators believe that all six victims had attended the funeral of a 38-year-old man who died of a heart attack. All six had just left the church and were on the street when the shooting began.
Witnesses described grabbing children and ducking for cover amid a hail of gunfire. The shooting started about two hours after the funeral, for Jose Louis Robles, had ended, as attendees milled around on the street.
Raul Marroqin, 43, who attended the funeral, said that he heard the gunfire, but had not seen who was shooting.
“I heard so many shots,” he said. “Bop, bop, bop, bop, bop. I threw myself to the floor, grabbed my kids.”
The victims included two 40-year-old men who were pronounced dead at Kings County Hospital Center. Two women, ages 38 and 29, and two other men, ages 37 and 44, were also hit. One of the victims was in critical condition. Their names were not immediately released.
Police Department officials said that 15 rounds were fired, and that several cars quickly left the scene after the shootings. The police said that it appeared there was more than one gunman, but they did not know the motive for the shootings. They cautioned that the investigation was in its early stages and that details could change.
“There’s mass confusion out there,” said Stephen Davis, the department’s chief spokesman.
Mr. Robles, a father of two who lived in Brooklyn, was known as Cheo. He died on April 16. An obituary included in a flier from the service described him as having overcome “many obstacles” and said that he was 60 credits away from a degree in neuroscience from Manhattan College. Mr. Marroquin, a close friend of Mr. Robles, said in an interview early Tuesday morning that Mr. Robles had served time in prison for murder. “He got married in that church, he changed his life 100 percent. He left the streets. He left the life. Right now, a war started. This is a war.”
A cousin of Mr. Robles’s, who asked to be identified only as Hazel, said she was in shock. “I’m just trying to piece this together,” she said. “He was a very beautiful person. He was 38. He died of natural causes. He fell asleep. It was nothing gang related. That’s why this is very surprising.”
Outside Mr. Robles’s home near Prospect Park, a small memorial had been set up.
At the time of his death, Mr. Robles was a sophomore at Manhattan College, and had been on the honor roll, said a cousin of his who grew up on the same block as Mr. Robles and gave only his first name, Mike.
Mike was leaving the church when the shootings began. “The funeral had been going great,” he said. “Very respectful, and peaceful. His closest friends were there. And then, gunshots.”
Mike said he did not think his cousin was involved in any gang-affiliated activities, and he did not know who the victims or the gunmen were.
Source: NY Times