Three Alleged Gunmen Indicted for the Murder of Carey Gabay During J’ouvert Celebration

imageEngaged in Gun Battle between Warring Gangs in Middle of Crowded Street;
Victim Happened Upon Shootout and was Fatally Struck in the Head;
Fourth Defendant Previously Indicted for Possessing Machine Gun at the Scene

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, together with New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton, today announced that three men have been charged with the murder of Carey Gabay outside the Ebbets Field Houses in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, on Labor Day last year. 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.

District Attorney Thompson said, “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.”

“Today, this Brooklyn homicide squad should be commended,” said Police Commissioner Bratton. “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.”

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said, “Carey 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. I am grateful to the law enforcement officials for their relentless work investigating this case and feel strongly that the perpetrators of this heinous act should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Today’s indictments are an important milestone in the quest for justice, and I hope that they bring solace to Carey’s family and loved ones.”

The District Attorney identified the defendants as Micah Alleyne, 24, of Jamaica, Queens; Tyshawn Crawford, 21, of East New York, Brooklyn; and Keith Luncheon, 24, of Crown Heights, Brooklyn. They have been variously charged in a 16-count indictment with second-degree murder, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and first-degree reckless endangerment. Each faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison if convicted on the top count with which they are charged. Stanley Elianor, 25, of Brownsville, Brooklyn 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.

Alleyne, Crawford and Luncheon will be arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Vincent Del Giudice in the Ceremonial Courtroom on the 2nd Floor of 320 Jay Street at 2:15 p.m. Elianor was previously arraigned and the case against him is pending.

The District Attorney said that, according to the 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, Carey 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.

Alleyne, an alleged member of Folk Nation, was identified in a surveillance video running back into the building from the patio ledge, holding a gun. He was taken into custody on May 26, 2016 and subsequently made statements to detectives, admitting he was present on the patio and fired his gun that morning, according to the criminal complaint. Crawford, an alleged member of Hoodstarz, a gang affiliated with Folk Nation, was seen in video surveillance from the street in front of the building pulling out a gun. That firearm was recovered following a traffic stop of a livery cab on November 2015 and matched three shell casings that were found in the area where the defendant was captured on camera. Luncheon, an alleged 8-Trey member, was witnessed firing a weapon during the incident, according to the investigation, and has made statements regarding his presence at the scene with a loaded gun.

All three defendants have been indicted for depraved indifference murder under the theory of mutual combat, meaning that they all entered into a de-facto agreement to engage in a gun battle. Under this theory, all are equally responsible for the murder, regardless of who fired the bullet that struck Mr. Gabay, and a claim of self-defense does not apply.

In addition, a loaded Mac-10 machine gun that was recovered after the shooting from a metal grate in the patio matched Elianor’s DNA, according to the investigation. The defendant, an alleged member of Folk Nation, was arrested on September 18, 2015 and subsequently made statements, admitting that he was present at the scene, ran from the street to the patio and then ran across the patio into 1700 Bedford Avenue, according to the criminal complaint.

The case is being investigated by New York City Police Department Detective Lorraine Winters of Brooklyn South Homicide Squad, Detective Sambath Ouk and Detective Raymond Weng of the 71st Precinct and Detective Michael Gaynor of the 70th Precinct, under the supervision of Lieutenant Chris Marrow, 71st Precinct Squad Commander, Captain Nicholas Fiore of Brooklyn South Detectives, Deputy Chief Vincent DiDonato, Assistant Chief Patrick Conry and the overall supervision of Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorneys Emily Dean and Olatokunbo Olaniyan of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, under the supervision of Kenneth Taub, Chief, and Mark Feldman, Senior Executive Assistant District Attorney for Crime Strategies and Investigations. Elianor’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Nicole Itkin, of the District Attorney’s Trial Bureau, Green Zone, under the supervision of David Klestzick, Bureau Chief.

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An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.