NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Three men now face murder and other charges in the death of Carey Gabay, a former aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo who was shot and killed last year in Brooklyn.
As CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton announced the 16-count indictment Wednesday against Tyshawn Crawford, 21, Keith Luncheon, 24, and Micah Alleyne, 24.
Authorities said the men all face various charges including second-degree murder, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and first-degree reckless endangerment. They all pleaded not guilty at an arraignment Wednesday in Brooklyn Supreme Court.
Gabay was walking with his brother when authorities said he was gunned down in the street following J’ouvert Celebration festivities leading up to the West Indian Day Parade on Sept. 7, 2015.
Police said he was caught in the crossfire between rival gangs in front of a building on Bedford Avenue, which is part of the Ebbets Field Houses in Crown Heights.
He was shot in the head as he tried to duck behind a car and died five days later in the hospital.
New surveillance video released by the Brooklyn DA’s office showed people running for their lives as the gang war erupted. Thompson described the scene as a free-for-all of shots being fired, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported.
“These two gangs, the Folk Nation and the Crips have been at war with each other for years,” Thompson said. “When they see each other, there’s no talking, just shooting — and that’s exactly what happened the night that Carey was shot.”
The surveillance video helped detectives isolate and identify the alleged gunmen.
“We’ll never be able to get into the minds of these young men, because they’re mindless,” Bratton said.
Prosecutors at this point cannot prove that one of the suspects fired the fatal shot, and said they may never know who fired the weapon that killed Gabay, WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported.
Defense attorney Louis Rosenthal said that may help his clients’ case.
“I do think that the people will have a hard time proving exactly what happened,” he said.
But authorities said they are all being held responsible for Gabay’s death because they allegedly engaged in “mutual combat.”
“Mutual combat where they agree to combat each other,” Bratton said.
Authorities said the investigation found that an estimated two to three dozen shots were fired during the gunfight from at least eight weapons.
“My history in this city, I’ve never seen an event in which so many individuals with so many weapons with such depravity, committed a crime, particularly a crime which resulted in the death of this young man,” Bratton said.
Thompson said the suspects created “a killing field in a crowd of innocent people, showing depraved indifference to human life.”
Authorities said Alleyne is an alleged member of the Folk Nation street gang and was identified in the surveillance video running from the scene while holding a gun.
He was taken into custody last month and allegedly made statements to detectives admitting he was at the scene and fired his gun that morning, according to the criminal complaint.
Authorities said Crawford is an alleged member of Hoodstarz, a gang affiliated with Folk Nation. He was also seen in surveillance video from the street pulling out a gun, authorities said.
The investigation found that Luncheon, an alleged 8-Trey gang member, was witnessed firing a weapon during the incident and also allegedly made statements about being at the scene with a loaded gun, authorities said.
Thompson said the Folk Nation gang has been engaged in a years-long war with 8-Trey, which is a faction of the Crips gang.
If convicted on the top count that they are charged, all three each face up to 25 years to life in prison.
A fourth man, 25-year-old Stanley Elianor, was arraigned in October of last year on weapons charges for allegedly possessing machine gun at the scene.
Authorities said the gun, which was found after the shooting in a metal grate, matched Elianor’s DNA.
After his arrest in September shortly after the incident, Elianor, who is also an alleged Folk Nation member, admitted he was at the scene, according to the criminal complaint.
The case against him is pending. If convicted of the top charge, Elianor faces up to 15 years in prison.
Gabay’s family thanked police and prosecutors after the arrests were announced. The NYPD plans to keep a close eye on gang activity and provide more police patrols at this year’s J’ouvert Festival to make sure another tragedy does not occur.
“If so much as a sneeze comes out of any one of these gang members in the weeks running up, we will be there- — not to say gesundheit, but basically to let them know that we are there,” Bratton said.
Gabay was a lawyer who served as first deputy general counsel at the Empire State Development Corp. In a statement Wednesday, Cuomo called him “a dedicated public servant whose life was cut short due to reckless gun violence.”
“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,” he said. “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 DA’s office said the new indictments are just one step towards justice for Gabay. Investigators expect to make more arrests in the case, and they have vowed not to stop until everyone responsible for murder is behind bars.