Carey Gabey, a top aide to New York governor Andrew Cuomo, was shot in the head by a stray bullet Reuters

Governor Andrew Cuomo's first deputy counsel is fighting for his life after receiving a gunshot wound to his head. Carey Gabay was walking along with his brother in the hours preceding the annual West Indian Day Parade in Brooklyn, New York.

Gabay is first deputy general counsel at Empire State Development, the state's chief economic-development agency. The 43-year-old was at a party celebrating the parade with family and friends. While taking cover in a parking lot to try and avoid gunfire, he was shot in the top of his head, police said.

Two groups of people were firing at each other, on Empire Blvd. and on Bedford Avenue. Police recovered a semi-automatic weapon and 16 shell casings from the scene. Gabay was rushed to Kings County hospital, where he remains in a critical condition.

The brothers were caught in violence between gangs at 3.40am, police said. Gabay was one of four men shot overnight along the parade route. The festival is also known as the J'Ouvert Festival and is celebrated every labour day in the Crown Heights neighbourhood.

A police spokeswoman said no arrests had been made. About an hour and a half before Gabay was shot, a 24-year-old man was stabbed to death at a different corner of Prospect Park. Another man, aged 21, was shot in the buttocks and hospitalised.

New York Governor Cuomo released a statement saying:"This tragic shooting - this one by another seemingly random bullet - is the latest heartbreaking reminder that the crime of gun violence must stop.

"Enough young, innocent people have died, and it must stop now."

The West Indian Day Parade has a reputation for violence. Last year, three people were shot, with one person fatally, near the parade route.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, Governor Cuomo said that Gabay's wife is pregnant with their first child.

"Carey is an outstanding public servant who joined our administration in 2011," Cuomo said in a statement. The married Harvard-educated lawyer and wanted to "give back to others and make a difference, the governor said.