MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. - The annual Arts on Third Music Festival took a turn for a worst this weekend when gunshots rang out and a man was fatally shot.
On Sunday night, as the festival was coming to a close, gunshots rang out and a man was shot and killed after he was “targeted,” according to Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas.
Few details have been released by the Mount Vernon Police Department, but it is being described as an “isolated incident.”
“(Sunday’s) shooting was an isolated criminal act that contributed to a loss of life. The deceased individual appears to have been targeted and was not the victim of a random act of violence,” Thomas stated. “The entire city mourns for the deceased family, friends and loved ones. The entire Mount Vernon Police Department, in collaboration with other emergency services, had an overwhelming presence at the festival.”
The annual Arts on Third festival has been a Mount Vernon staple for nearly two decades, started by former Mayor Ernest Davis. It was briefly discontinued when Clinton Young defeated Davis for four years before it was reinstated by Davis during his second term and has been continued by Thomas since.
In a statement, Damon K. Jones, representing the Blacks in Law Enforcement of America organization, questioned the security protocols of the Arts on Third Festival.
"We question the staffing of officers and if any request was made to the county and state police to assist in securing the festival," he said. "We also question the absence of emergency response units and adequate medical assistance teams.
"We believe if these measures were in place correctly, it would have been a strong deterrent for any criminal activity. As America is on high alert from recent bombings, Mount Vernon security measures for Arts on Third was inadequate."
Following the shooting, Thomas vowed that his soon-to-be unveiled budget for the upcoming year will benefit the entire police department. Sunday’s shooting remains under investigation.
“Though this shooting tests our resolve to implement 21st century policing, we will not waver in our commitment to deliver a strong dose of justice to those responsible for this heinous act,” Thomas added. “Investing in public safety is paramount. This is why my 2017 budget will include restoring vital positions in the police department and modernizing equipment.”