Three alleged gunmen indicted for murder of Gov. Cuomo aide Carey Gabay
Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson and New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton announced on Wednesday 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. 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,” said Thompson. “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.”
Commissioner Bratton said, “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.”
“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,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “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.”
The DA identified the defendants as Micah Alleyne, 24, of Jamaica, Queens; Tyshawn Crawford, 21, of East New York; and Keith Luncheon, 24, of Crown Heights. 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, 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 were set to be arraigned Wednesday before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Vincent Del Giudice in the Ceremonial Courtroom on the second floor of 320 Jay St. Elianor was previously arraigned and the case against him is pending.
The DA said that according to the investigation, the incident took place during the early morning hours of Sept. 7, 2015 in front of 1680 Bedford Ave., 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 onsite, 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 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 Sept. 15.
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 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 Ave., according to the criminal complaint.
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