CAMBRIDGE — Gunfire disrupted the 25th annual Cambridge Caribbean Carnival in Technology Square Sunday when two young men were shot just before 5 p.m., officials said.
A Dorchester man, identified by poilce as 23-year-old Michael Coleman, who was known to police, was taken into custody and will be charged, police said. A firearm was also recovered from the scene.
“We had a largely peaceful event until it was disrupted by gunfire,” Cambridge Police Commissioner Branville Bard told reporters at the scene. “At this time we don’t know what precipitated the event.”
One victim was shot in the leg, and the other in the foot, Bard said. Their injuries are believed to be non-life-threatening, he said. Bard said the person of interest is known to law enforcement. Coleman was taken into custody after a short chase and faces charges. Bard said it’s too early to tell if more people were involved.
The shooting occurred near the main stage of the carnival at about 4:44 p.m. The carnival was shut down after the shooting in the interest of public safety, police said.
“It’s a shame that the reputation of an event can be ruined over the behavior of a few individuals,” Bard said.
Nicola Williams, president of the board that runs the nonprofit festival, said organizers are cooperating with the city and police.
“It’s unfortunate that someone would take advantage of our event, a family-friendly event,” she said, noting this year’s rendition was a milestone — the 25th costume parade. The incident marked the second time in two years that the colorful festival been disrupted by violence. In 2015, a Roxbury woman was shot and four people injured in a fight, according to a Globe story.
Danielle Woods, who attended the event, said she is concerned that the violence creates a unfair perception of the annual celebration of Caribbean culture. “That upsets me because, us as Caribbean people, we don’t come to fight or cause violence,” she said near the scene. “We just want to have fun and hang with our people.”
But the sound of gunshots sent people scurrying, she said.
“Everyone was just running, running for their lives. They were so scared,” Woods said.
Williams said she does not share the view that violence is expected at the carnivals.
“Why would we expect violence at a family-friendly event,” she said. “When you have 200,000 people at an event, there will be challenges.”
“It’s something we look forward to celebrating. It’s just a disappointing outcome for something that started really beautiful.”Globe correspondent Reena Karasin contributed to this report. Dylan McGuinness can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @dylmcguinness