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Parade-goers stroll in Brooklyn Monday before the start of the annual West Indian Day Parade. Hours before the parade, police reported multiple shootings overnight, one of them deadly, near the route for the parade, which celebrates Caribbean culture. / Mark Lennihan AP

Americans celebrated Labor Day on Monday with parades, barbecues and political stump speeches.

New York City's West Indian Day Parade, one of the nation's biggest Labor Day celebrations, stepped off with fanfare just hours after four people were shot ?? one fatally ?? near the parade route.

Despite the violence, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the vast majority of an estimated 1 million attendees would enjoy themselves. The parade winds through Brooklyn with colorful floats and elaborate costumes.

"A lot of boroughs come together, a lot of people and cultures come together to celebrate the West Indian life," Brooklyn resident Nathaniel Martin told CBS. "It's awesome."

In Milwaukee, President Obama touted a rebounding economy, stumped for a higher minimum wage and fired up union workers in a campaign-style speech to a friendly union audience. Obama castigated Republicans who are in "lock step opposition to everything we do." "I'm not asking for the moon," he said. "I'm just asking for a good deal for American workers."

Obama said working families aren't looking for yachts, private planes, mansions or exotic vacations, but fair wages, affordable health care and retirement security.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, a Wisconsin native, said Democrats could do more to create jobs. "Right now, there are millions of Americans who desperately want to work but can't find a job. They're exhausted from looking for jobs that don't exist," he said. He blamed Obama and Senate Democrats for rejecting jobs bills passed by the Republican-led House.

In Michigan, thousands of pedestrians walked across the five-mile Mackinac Bridge, crossing from the Upper Peninsula to the Lower Peninsula in the 57th annual such event.

The West Indian Day parade in Brooklyn has been marred by violence in recent years. Hours before Monday's edition began, a 55-year-old man died at the scene of a 3:30 a.m. shooting about six blocks from the parade route, police said. A 22-year-old woman was shot in the ankle and a 22-year-old man was shot in the leg, police said. The two wounded people were taken to Kings County Hospital in stable condition, police said.

A 26-year-old suspect was arrested and charges are pending. New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton described the suspect as a "career criminal" who was recently paroled and who opened fire on a crowd that had begun gathering for the parade.

Minutes after the initial shootings, another woman was shot two blocks from the parade's route, officials said. She also was taken to Kings County Hospital with a non-life-threatening wound.

Last year, two people were fatally stabbed at the parade, and a man was shot to death in 2011.

But de Blasio, who was among hundreds of organizers who attended a breakfast before the event, promised a safe parade with 4,000 police officers assigned along the route.

"This parade started small, became big and is one of the great events in our city," de Blasio said. He said the "vast majority have a wonderful time and only a few individuals get out of line."

The parade is special to de Blasio, whose wife, Chirlane McCray, has roots in St. Lucia and Barbados. De Blasio called the city's Caribbean population "a growing community, a strong community, a community well-represented in our administration," Newsday reported.

Contributing: John Bacon, Associated Press



Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Read the original story: From parades to barbecues, a Labor of love

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