Eight people were shot as the first parade for the annual Caribbean Carnival in Dorchester got underway Saturday morning, according to Boston police.
The victims were transported to local hospitals and are expected to survive their injuries, police said in an emailed statement.
At a press conference around noon Saturday, Boston Police Commissioner Michael Cox said officers arrested two suspects shortly after responding to reports of the shootings at around 7:43 a.m.
Later Saturday afternoon, police made two additional arrests in connection with the shooting. One of the suspects was wounded in the gunfire and was being guarded at a local hospital, police said.
Cox said the shootings were not related to the parade and took place on the "outskirts" of its route near the intersection of Blue Hill Avenue and Talbot Avenue.
Police were forced to halt the J'ouvert parade, which began at around 6:30 a.m., as officers applied tourniquets to the victims and began investigating "the large crime scene," Cox said.
Officers "recovered multiple weapons" at the scene, according to Cox, who asked that anyone who witnessed the events, particularly those with video recordings, contact detectives. (The public can reach investigators anonymously at 1-800-494-TIPS.)
"It's always heart-wrenching to hear that a treasured community event has been disrupted by acts of violence from those who had nothing to do with the event," Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said at the press conference.
Separately, two people were injured in Worcester Sunday when gunfire broke out at around 6 p.m. near the Caribbean Festival at Institute Park. Police say the 23-year-old and 15-year-old injured in the shooting near Salisbury Street and Boynton Street appeared to be innocent bystanders. Both were taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
The investigation is ongoing, and Worcester police asked the public to reach out to detectives at 508-799-8651 with any information.
Following the shootings in Boston and Worcester, Gov. Maura Healey released a statement saying that she was "heartbroken" over the violence that erupted at the cultural celebrations.
"My thoughts are with the victims, their families and the entire communities that have been impacted by these senseless shootings," Healey said. "I'm deeply grateful for the heroic efforts of law enforcement, public safety personnel and first responders whose quick actions have saved lives."
The governor also reflected on an uptick in violence in the state's third-largest city, Springfield and stressed in the statement her safety priorities.
"Our administration is committed to being a strong partner to cities and towns by collaborating on a coordinated approach to get illegal guns off the streets, address the root causes of violence, and ensure safe communities for all,” she said in the statement.
Before the Boston shooting, revelers along the J'ouvert parade route were marching from the intersection of Talbot Avenue and Kerwin Street, up Blue Hill Avenue toward Franklin Park.
The Caribbean Carnival marked its 50th anniversary this year. The event's second and main parade began as scheduled at 1 p.m. at the intersection of Warren Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard.
In the hours after Saturday's shooting, Boston City Council President Ed Flynn called for the city to cancel the main parade and "develop a gun violence strategy."
"Today’s mass shooting highlights the gun violence crisis we are facing in the city. This is a public health and public safety emergency," he said in a statement. "Boston Police are confiscating and recovering guns at an alarming rate throughout the neighborhood."
The Suffolk County district attorney's office also is investigating Saturday's shooting.
Nearly 10 years ago, Dawnn Jaffier, 26, was shot and killed while marching in the 2014 J'ouvert parade in Boston. Jaffier, a youth worker, was described by police as an innocent bystander in a violent dispute between two men prosecutors argued were rival gang members confronting each other at the parade.
In 2017, Keith Williams and Wesson Colas were tried jointly and found guilty of first-degree murder in Jaffier's death. The state's highest court later overturned the conviction for Colas, the man who did not fire the gun that fatally wounded Jaffier. The court ruled he could be tried again on second-degree murder charges.
This article was originally published on August 26, 2023.