Gunfire Kills Woman at Popular Caribbean Fest

A 22-year-old college student lost her life after attending the J’Ouvert Caribbean pride celebration in New York, officials say.

Tiarah Poyau, a St. John’s University student, was killed after she was shot in the face in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights area.

Roughly four hours after Poyau was gunned down at the annual predawn J’Ouvert festival — a large Caribbean street party held prior to the official start of the Brooklyn Carnival parade — police said they unknowingly arrested the man who allegedly committed the crime.

Regenald Moise, 20, has been charged with second-degree murder, criminal possession of a weapon, and reckless endangerment in connection with Poyah’s death, CBS New York reports. NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said Moise was arrested on allegations of driving while intoxicated and crashing into three cars.

“So he’s arrested for the DWI. When they pull him out of the car, his hand is cut up and is tied off with a Caribbean flag,” Boyce said. “It all starts to fit together.”

Officials say around 4:15 a.m., Moise opened fire on a crowd celebrating J’Ouvert. One bullet struck Poyau in the head. Police say Moise then went to an apartment building on Montgomery Avenue, where a girlfriend allegedly agreed to hide his gun.

“At this point, he fires two rounds into the wall, and then he breaks a window — I’m sorry, a mirror — and he cuts his hand, and there’s blood on the mirror,” Boyce said.

Moise then left his gun at the apartment, where officials recovered it. Investigators also reportedly found a rare 9mm aluminum shell casing. The casing was the same type they recovered at the shooting scene.

“We then talk to his friends and they tell, one of the individuals he spoke to said, ‘I think I shot somebody on the parade ground, and I didn’t know the gun was loaded,” Boyce said. “We then begin to speak to him, where he goes on to state that he thinks he shot somebody: ‘The gun went off. I thought it was loaded. I’m not sure.’”

At least three others suffered injuries in separate incidents Monday, including a woman who was stabbed and a man who was shot in the leg in locations not far from the scene of the first shooting.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the annual celebration will continue despite these violent incidents. This year, the NYPD doubled the amount of officers on the street and increased the number of floodlights from 40 to 200.