It's a festival celebrating Caribbean culture that New York City residents look forward to all year, but the early hours before today's West Indian Day Parade were rocked by violence during pre-celebrations—and a staffer for Gov. Andrew Cuomo was one of the victims. Cuomo says Carey Gabay, 43, recently promoted to first deputy counsel of the Empire State Development Corporation, was shot in the head at around 3:40am today in Brooklyn, NBC New York reports. Gabay was rushed to the hospital, where's he's said to be in critical condition and "fighting for his life," according to Mayor Bill De Blasio. And he wasn't the only victim: WABC notes that during the J'Ouvert Festival, a pre-parade celebration that starts before dawn, a 21-year-old was shot in the buttocks, another 21-year-old was grazed on his hand by a bullet, and a 39-year-old was shot two times in the torso. Meanwhile, a 24-year-old man died after being stabbed in the torso, the news station adds.
Cuomo—who the AP notes hadn't been at the same public event as the mayor since July, underscoring a long-simmering feud between the two—called Gabay, a lawyer schooled at Harvard, a "kindhearted man" and an "outstanding public servant," WPIX reports. "This was a beautiful man, a sweet man, a man who was giving back to his community, a gentleman, who was involved in nothing, just walking down the street with his brother, wife pregnant with his first child," Cuomo tells WABC. "We have to commit ourselves to justice in partnership with the police and in partnership with one another, that the crime, the violence on those streets stop, because enough young people have died. Enough innocent people have died. And it has to stop and it has to stop now." (The NYPD has a contentious history when it comes to policing the West Indian Day Parade.)