The first official Juneteenth National Independence Day weekend in America was marred by gunfire and bloodshed over the weekend.
The new federal holiday, which celebrates the end of slavery in Texas, became effective immediately after the bill was signed into law by U.S. President Joe Biden last week.
However, holiday celebrations ended in shootings in Atlanta, Oakland, Aurora, Baton Rouge, Clover, South Carolina; and Flint, Michigan over the weekend.
The multiple shootings marred Juneteenth and Father’s Day celebrations in Atlanta.
Elsewhere, one man was shot multiple times as he cowered behind two children in the Bronx Borough of New York City.
A man wearing red stumbled over the children as they walked to a store to buy a loaf of bread. Surveillance video captured another man wearing all black chase the victim and open fire as he tried to hide behind the two children, a 10-year-old girl and her 5-year-old brother, who were both strangers to him.
Video shows the girl shielding her little brother from the gunfire. The gunman escaped on the back of a scooter driven by another man.
The victim took himself to a local hospital, where he is listed in stable condition with gunshot wounds to his back and both legs.
The two children were not injured. Their horrified parents watched the violence unfold from their apartment window.
“They saw the gunman running down the block shooting and they thought they were shooting their children,” Mayoral candidate and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said. “That little boy won’t leave his dad’s lap. When he hears a fire cracker, he thinks it’s a shooting.”
The children, their parents, and 2-year-old sister were honored at a NY Yankees game on Sunday.
In other violent shootings over the Juneteenth weekend, at least 5 people died, and 44 were injured in shootings in Chicago (read here).
One person was killed and 6 wounded during shootings near a Juneteenth event in Oakland, CA.
One woman was fatally shot after she opened fire on a police officer at a Juneteenth parade in Flint, Michigan.
Police say a triple shooting killed 2 men and wounded a 3-year-old boy in Philadelphia on Saturday.
At least 1 man was killed and 4 others wounded in a possible gang-related shooting at a Juneteenth celebration in Aurora, Colorado early Sunday.
And at least 3 people were shot at a Juneteenth celebration in Clover, SC on Saturday.