St. John’s student shot dead hours before West Indian Parade

St. John’s University student Tiarah Poyau is shot and killed prior to the West Indian Labor Day Parade in Brooklyn
By Gina Martinez

Despite fliers from police telling carnival attendees “Do not shoot anyone. Do not stab anyone,” two people were shot and killed, including a St. John’s University graduate, in Brooklyn at the J’Ouvert Festival.

East New York resident, Tiarah Poyau, 22, was shot in the head in the early hours of Sept. 5 during the prelude to the West Indian Labor Day Parade, according to police. The New York Post reported she was killed for rejecting a man who made a pass at her. When police arrived at 44 Empire Blvd. at 4:14 a.m., they found Poyau with a gunshot to the face, police said. She was taken to nearby Kings County Hospital, where she was pronounced dead, according to police.

The Post quoted unnamed sources as saying prior to the shooting, Poyau was accosted and told the man, “Get off me.” The paper said Poyau had been shot in the eye “at close range.’’

Poyao was an aspiring CPA and a St. John’s University graduate. According to her Linked in profile, her ultimate goal was to become an accountant at a prestigious firm. She also studied abroad in 2014 in Paris, Rome and Seville. On her profile she talked about her future: “I am always interested in meeting new people, hearing success stories and acquiring helpful bits of knowledge at every chance I get.”

OnTuesday police arrested Brooklyn resident Reginald Moise, 20.

At a news conference Tuesday Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce talked to reporters at One Police Plaza while reviewing monthly crime stats.

“Right now, he is being charged with murder two, depraved indifference, for shooting Tiarah Poyau,” he said. “That’s where we are right now. We still have a long way to go. We have more ballistics and blood evidence to check, but we believe this is the individual going forward.”

Immediately after allegedly shooting Poyao, Moise fled to his girlfriend’s house, police said.

“He makes a phone call directly after the shooting and tells a friend of his, ‘Would you mind if I put my gun into your apartment?” Boyce said. Police said he asked his girlfriend to hide his gun.

A drunken Moise shot his gun at a mirror while at his girlfriend’s house, injuring his hand, before fleeing the scene, police said. Moise was later arrested Tuesday morning for driving under the influence and crashing into parked vehicles, police said.

At the same time officers responded to a call from a neighbor about the shots fired at his girlfriend’s house. When they arrived, they found the 9mm murder weapon, police said. Ballistic tests were able to match it to the one used to kill Poyao, police said.

“We then begin to speak to him in the 71 detective squad where he goes on to state that he thinks he shot somebody, Boyce said. “‘The gun went off. I thought it wasn’t loaded. I’m not sure,’” Moise said.

Just a few blocks away on Empire Boulevard and Flatbush Avenue another shooting took place. According to police at 3:50 a.m. a 72-year- old woman was shot in the arm and a 17-year-old man was shot in the chest. Both were taken to Kings County hospital and 17-year-old Brooklyn resident Tyreke Borel was pronounced dead, police said. Police were still investigating if the two shooting incidents were connected.

The annual Labor Day Parade, or J’Ouvert festival, is a celebration of Caribbean culture that stretches down Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights. The parade is often met with violence. Last year an aide to Gov. Cuomo was shot and killed by a stray bullet.

Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmartinez@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

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