Seeking relief from another day of scorching temperatures, a community group organized a water gun fight at Brower Park in Brooklyn Friday afternoon.
Around 30 attendees ranging from children to adults gathered near the sprinklers at the playground. Everyone picked from dozens of brightly-colored water guns, filling them up at an inflatable pool before squirting water at each other. Within minutes, everyone around the playground was soaked but laughing as they cooled off from the heat.
Ten-year-old St. Clair Washington was walking through the park with his mom when he spotted the water battle and decided to join in. He took part in the afternoon event as temperatures reached above 90 degrees, part of an ongoing heat wave that’s expected to last through Monday.
“I saw everybody, so I was like, ‘what are they doing?’ I see everybody throwing water, I’m like ‘come on let’s go,’” he said, drenched from head to toe. “I was using a water bottle, then I switched to the bucket…I’m having fun!”
“I really like water gun fights, cause today is a very hot day, so we get to get wet,” said 8-year-old Mikayla Rosario, who came to the water gun fight with her parents and little sister after seeing a flier in her building. “It feels amazing.”
The event was organized weeks ago by Crown Heights CARE Collective, a community group that organizes against police violence.
Before the water war began, organizers took the time to inform participants of their rights if approached by police. Micah Phillips, an organizer with the group also encouraged attendees to put the toys away before leaving the park in the light of the fatal Bronx shooting of 18-year-old Raymond Chaluisant, who was carrying a water bead gun at the time. The suspected shooter, Dion Middleton, an off-duty correction officer, was charged with second-degree murder and first- and second-degree manslaughter.
“It’s important that we’re really safe,” Phillips told the crowd. “Unfortunately, there are people in power like police officers who might see those things and think that they are threatening.”
Veronica Washington, St. Clair’s mom, said she doesn’t let her son have toy guns at home.
“Just for me, I don’t think it’s safe because, just like that happened, anything could happen,” Washington said, referring to the Bronx shooting.
But she felt comfortable with him playing at the park on Friday.
“They look like toys,” she said.
A heat advisory remains in effect through Monday, with cooling centers remaining open through the weekend.