A 21-year-old man was killed and eight people were shot after gunfire erupted in Harlem early Monday morning during what police say appeared to be a gathering at a barbecue.

The shooting comes towards the end of a three-day holiday weekend and the eve of summer, when violence typically increases.

“While we are making headway against violence, we have a lot of work to do, but we need help alongside the entire criminal justice system,” said Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell, during a pre-dawn press conference near the scene of the shooting.

Police say they received numerous reports of shots being fired around 12:40 a.m. on East 139th Street. When officers arrived, they found five people injured along a footpath under the Madison Avenue Bridge. By Monday afternoon, the entrance leading into the Harlem River Drive remain closed.

The five individuals were transported to area hospitals by emergency responders, while four others who were injured had gone on their own.

The victim who died, Darius Lee, was a former high school star basketball player. He had been admitted to Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx. Of the nine people shot, seven were male and two were female. Their ages remain unknown. No arrests have been made.

By Monday afternoon, a makeshift candlelight memorial had been set up outside a residential building on East 138th Street where Lee reportedly lived. There, supporters were seated in front of the memorial where two portraits of the victim hung. Those in attendance declined to speak about the shooting.

In a statement by Ron Cottrell, the Houston Baptist University basketball coach, said Lee was a "remarkable young man who loved the Lord, his mom, his family, his teammates, his friends and his entire HBU family."

A makeshift memorial is set outside a home.

A makeshift memorial outside a residential building in Harlem just near the shooting.

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A makeshift memorial outside a residential building in Harlem just near the shooting.
David Cruz

Mayor Eric Adams — who has pledged to reduce gun violence across the city — told 1010 WINS he was in Harlem shortly after the shooting occurred. He said his administration will continue to reduce the number of firearms off the streets.

"We are going to zero in on removing guns the street. We removed over 3,000 guns thus far. We're going to continue to go after those shooters, and I'm happy to hear that the state court system is picking up some of these cases. But we have to move further to ensure dangerous people go to trial," Adams said.

The latest shooting comes as gun violence has been on the decline. Shootings in June are down 10.8%, with 559 incidents reported compared to 627 same time last year, according to NYPD statistics.

The article has been updated with additional details of the victim.