One man was wounded and hundreds more were terrified when shots were fired into a massive crowd outside Prospect Park last night after the controversial “Heatwave” gathering ended and celebrants dispersed onto Ocean Avenue.
Witnesses said that a huge crowd was hanging out at around 9 pm along the strip between Empire Boulevard and Parkside Avenue in the wake of the packed “Heatwave” party.
It is unclear what sparked the violence in front of 135 Ocean Ave., but a source living on Ocean Avenue said that as night fell tensions began to rise.
“It was not an amicable atmosphere,” said the witness. “Guys were getting out of fancy cars with bodyguards — the money on display was crazy.”
Another witness, who only identified himself as Joe, added, “It was like it had been building up to something for quite some time.”
Police said the wounded man showed up on his own at Kings County Hospital with bullets that matched the spent rounds found at the scene of the shooting. His condition was unknown at this time.
More than one thousand people had gathered peacefully on Sunday afternoon in the park’s Nethermead area for the “Heatwave” event, an annual party hosted by MIH Ventures, an event planning and music promotions company.
Shane Bennett, an employee with MIH Ventures, explained that the Heatwave event was a way to show customer appreciation.
“We invite everyone that comes to our events to come and enjoy the park and some free food,” Bennett said.
MIH Ventures had a permit for the gathering that expired at 5 pm.
A park official supervising the event, Josephine Pittari, said that MIH Ventures was obligated to stop serving food at that time, but that the parkgoers in attendance could stay until the park closed at 1 am.
“There is no limit on picnicking,” Pittari said.
As the official party ended, several participants told us, “This is just getting started.”
A spokesman for the park, Eugene Patron, hesitated to draw a draw a direct link between the event and shooting at Ocean Avenue near Lincoln Road, close to the Prospect Park stop on the Q train.
“It’s way too early to draw any conclusions into cause and effect,” Patron said. “We’ll let the police look into it.”
It’s the second year in a row that the “Heatwave” party has ended in controversy. Last year, the organizers never bothered to get a permit for the gathering, which left whole swaths of Prospect Park carpeted in litter. This time around, the organizers left the park in good condition, working overnight to clean up the mess. Unfortunately, one gun-toting miscreant ruined the party.
After the ensuing investigation, MIH Ventures took responsibility and organized a park clean-up day that fall.