NEW YORK – Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez says a fifth man has been charged with the murder of Jamaican lawyer Carey Gabay, a former legal aide to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, outside the Ebbets Field Houses in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, during the Caribbean J’ouvert celebration on Labor Day 2015.
“Like the other defendants, who allegedly engaged in mutual combat during the early morning shootout, the latest defendant, previously charged with weapons possession, is being held equally responsible and was also indicted for murder,” said Gonzalez, who traces his roots to Puerto Rico, on Wednesday.
“We have made a promise to the family of Carey Gabay to hold accountable everyone who took part in the shootout that took his life.,” he added.
“With this indictment, we have taken another step in keeping this promise, and we will not rest until every person who brazenly fired a gun during that devastating incident – creating a killing field amid a crowded celebration – is brought to justice.”
The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as Stanley Elianor, 26, of Brownsville, Brooklyn.
Elianor was arraigned on Wednesday before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Vincent Del Giudice, charged with second-degree murder, four counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and first-degree reckless endangerment. He was ordered held without bail.
Gonzalez said Elianor faces a maximum sentence of 40 years to life in prison if convicted of the top count with which he is charged.
The defendant was previously arraigned in October 2015 with criminal possession of a weapon for allegedly having a loaded machine gun at the scene.
Gonzalez said further investigation revealed that he allegedly also fired a small caliber gun, inciting additional violence, as warring gang members engaged in a gun battle.
In June 2016, Micah Alleyne, 26, of Jamaica, Queens; Tyshawn Crawford, 22, of East New York, Brooklyn; and Keith Luncheon, 25, of Crown Heights, Brooklyn were indicted for murder and related charges for their alleged role in the shooting.
A fourth defendant, Kenny Bazile, 32, was indicted on similar charges in September 2016, Gonzalez said.
He 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 of the shooting, Gonzalez said 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.
Gonzalez said 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 with the intention of shooting at rivals on sight, the investigation found,” the acting District Attorney said.
At about 3:40 a.m., he said 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,” Gonzalez said. “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, Gonzalez said Carey Gabay, 43, a first deputy counsel for the Empire State Development Corporation and a former assistant counsel to 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 gun fight broke out,” Gonzalez said. “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.
Gonzalez said Elianor was indicted for depraved indifference murder under the theory of mutual combat, as were the four other co-defendants, “meaning that the alleged gunmen 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,” Gonzalez said. – CMC