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Five people were shot, one fatally, in three separate shootings early Saturday morning in Boston, officials said.
Three people were shot on Creston Street in Dorchester, just off Blue Hill Avenue. One of the victims, a 27-year-old man, was killed, police said.
The other two individuals were shot in separate shootings in the area of Blue Hill Avenue: one at 1500 Blue Hill Ave., one on Bowdoin Street.
The shootings occurred just as the neighborhood was preparing for the annual Caribbean festival — which kicked off with the J'ouvert Parade just after 6 a.m. on Saturday.
The morning violence was a grim reminder of last year's celebration, when 26-year-old Dawnn Jaffier was killed by gunfire while attending the early morning parade.
Boston Police Commissioner William Evans says many festival-goers stay up all night to participate in the morning
"We were hoping that we didn't have a repeat of last year," Evans said, standing on Martin Luther King Boulevard before the afternoon parade. "But unfortunately, we're going to be burying another person this year because of the senseless tragedy and the amount of guns that are on the streets of our city."
Evans said this is the 21st homicide of 2015.
"Let's put things in perspective," Evans said. "This time last year, we were well into the 30s.
"Twenty-one is too many, [but] things aren't spiraling out of control here by any means," he said.
With Caribbean music in the background and revelers suiting up for the next parade, Evans says the vast majority of people attending the festivities are peaceful.
"99.9 percent of people here are great. It's a great family event, but we have some troublemakers here that we have issues with," he said.
João DePina, a Dorchester resident, says these shootings had nothing directly to do with the festival.
"And I don't think the media should swarm in here and talk about those shootings and make it part of the event," he said.
DePina, who is of Cape Verdean descent, says Carnival is a celebration of heritage.
"It's big in Brazil, it's big in Trinidad, it's big in Barbados. It's just a time of freedom, a time of fun, a time of enjoyment and expression. People come out here — all sizes, weights, showing everything they can — and no one is judging everyone."
This article was originally published on August 29, 2015.
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