Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, together with New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton, yesterday announced that three men have been charged with the murder of Carey Gabay outside the Ebbets Field Houses in Crown Heights on Labor Day last year.
Gabay, an attorney and rising star in the Cuomo Administration, was gunned down after being caught in the cross fire between rival gangs.
Thompson said because each of the defendants allegedly engaged in mutual combat during the early morning shootout, they are all being held equally responsible and all have been indicted for murder. A fourth suspected gang member was previously indicted for possessing a machine gun at the scene.
“These defendants are charged with creating a killing field in a crowd of innocent people, showing depraved indifference to human life and causing the death of Carey Gabay, who used his Harvard education and commitment to public service to improve the lives of others. This indictment shows the importance of our efforts to put an end to gang-related gun violence that places innocent lives in the crossfire. We are determined to get justice for Carey and his family and to hold accountable everyone who was involved in the shootout that took his life,” said Thompson said.
Arrested and charged with second-degree murder were Micah Alleyne, 24, of Jamaica, Queens; Tyshawn Crawford, 21, of East New York; and Keith Luncheon, 24, of Crown Heights. Each faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison. Additionally, Stanley Elianor, 25, of Brownsville was arraigned in October 2015 on an indictment that charges him with second-, third- and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of the top count.
According to the DA’s investigation, the incident took place during the early morning hours of September 7, 2015 in front of 1680 Bedford Avenue, which is part of the Ebbets Field Houses in Crown Heights. At the time prior to the shooting, the patio and street in front of the building were filled with hundreds of people, many of whom were celebrating J’ouvert, a traditional predawn festival that precedes the annual West Indian American Day Parade.
The building’s large patio was known to be controlled by the Folk Nation street gang, which has been engaged in a years-long war with the 8-Trey faction of the Crips gang, among others. Due to heightened tensions and despite the annual celebration, there were numerous armed gang members in the area that morning and they had the intention of shooting at rivals on sight, the investigation found.
At about 3:40 a.m., a group of 8-Trey members walked up from Montgomery Street, apparently heading toward the J’ouvert procession on Empire Boulevard, about two blocks to the south. Their presence in “enemy territory” sparked a gun battle between Folk Nation members and their affiliates, who were shooting from the street and the patio, and the 8-Trey members who fired from the street before fleeing north. An estimated two to three dozen shots were fired in two consecutive volleys from at least eight firearms, according to the investigation.
At the same time, Gabay, 43, a first deputy counsel for the Empire State Development Corporation and a former assistant counsel to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, was walking north on Bedford Avenue with his brother and a couple of friends after attending the J’ouvert procession.
They happened upon the front of the patio just as the firefight broke out. The group ran to a parking lot located between the patio and the street and ducked near parked cars. A bullet struck Mr. Gabay in the head and he was taken to Kings County Hospital Center, where he died a week later on September 15, 2015.
“Today, this Brooklyn homicide squad should be commended. They began with nothing and built this case despite extraordinary obstacles, reconstructing a chaotic scene to determine—with amazing specificity—what happened that early September morning. We will continue pursuing those who carried out this murder and finding common ground with the community to make J’ouvert safer in years ahead,” said Bratton.
Cuomo said Gabay was a dedicated public servant whose life was cut short due to reckless gun violence – tragedy that plagues too many of our communities.
“With Carey’s help, New York passed the nation’s toughest gun safety law, but his murder underscores the fact that our federal gun laws are woefully inadequate. While we took a great step forward with our historic legislation, without action from Congress, known criminals will continue to buy guns in other states today and sell them on the black market in New York tomorrow,” he said.