Khalid Jabara knew that he had reason to fear his next-door neighbor.
Jabara’s family, who immigrated to the United States from Lebanon, felt that their neighbor, Stanley Vernon Majors, had targeted them for years with ethnic slurs and frivolous calls to the police. The tension peaked last September in a violent hit-and-run attack on matriarch Haifa Jabara outside the family’s Tulsa, Oklahoma home, for which Majors was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, among other charges.
So when Khalid Jabara learned on Friday evening that Majors had come into possession of a gun, he called the police to report his concerns.
Officers came to Jabara’s East Avenue residence, surveyed the scene, and left, unable to make contact with Majors. Eight minutes later, police said Majors repeatedly shot Jabara on his front porch while he collected the mail.
Officers who arrived at the scene soon found a barefoot, seemingly intoxicated Majors hiding behind a tree outside the nearby Hardesty Library, Tulsa Police Sgt. Dave Walker told TPM. They arrested Majors on probable cause, and on Saturday booked him on suspicion of murder.
“The question now is not really the who or how but the why,” Walker said of Jabara’s killing, which came 10 weeks after Majors was released on bail in the pending hit-and-run case.
On Friday night, Jabara was at home with his disabled father, Walker said. Jabara reportedly learned from a neighbor that Majors had acquired a firearm, and called police around 5:02 p.m. local time after hearing knocking on the window. Officers arrived at the Jabara’s home at 6:30 p.m., spoke with him, and then went next door to try to speak with Majors (Walker attributed the delay between Jabara’s call and officers’ arrival to priority considerations).
Officers left the scene at around 6:40 p.m., having no “actionable” reason to forcibly enter Majors’ home after nobody came to the door, Walker said.
Jabara phoned his mother and stepped outside onto the porch to collect the mail. That’s when Majors allegedly opened fire, fatally wounding the 37-year-old.
A neighbor heard three gunshots ring out at 6:48 p.m. and called police, who rushed to the scene. One witness said Majors stood over Jabara and fired another shot, while several other neighbors said they saw him circling the body, according to Walker. When one witness yelled at Majors, he pointed his gun and told that person to flee or risk being shot as well.
Jabara was taken to Saint Francis Hospital, where he died shortly afterward, while police searched for Majors. When no one answered the door at his residence, police surrounded the premises. An officer then found him hiding behind a tree near the Jabara residence.
Walker told TPM that Majors was barefoot when he was found. Court records show that when Majors was booked for allegedly hitting Haifa Jabara with his car last September, he was ordered to wear an ankle monitor if he posted bond. But shortly before Majors was released on a reduced bond in May, Judge Clifford Smith removed the ankle monitor requirement.
Walker said Majors appeared “somewhat” intoxicated during his arrest but complied with officers. Majors gave police no statement and was taken to a local hospital, where he was treated for low blood sugar and held overnight.
Majors is currently being held at the Tulsa County Jail without bail, and it remains unclear if he’s retained an attorney.
Marvin Lizama, Majors’ most recent attorney, did not immediately respond Wednesday to TPM’s request for comment. In a statement to CNN, Lizama said his onetime client had been in good spirits since his May release from jail.
“I don’t know what happened last week that could have changed that,” he told CNN. “Never did I expect Mr. Majors to do something like this. This was unexpected and unfortunate.”
In a public statement, Jabara’s family said they were “shattered” but not surprised by his death, citing inadequate attention by authorities to the grave threat they say Majors posed to their family.
“Our brother’s death could have been prevented,” Khalid’s sister, Victoria Jabara Williams, wrote in the statement posted to her Facebook account, calling Majors “a known danger.”
“He should not have been released without monitoring,” she wrote. “Yet he was released and put back next door to us, the family he assaulted just months before. This is troubling at any time, but profoundly disturbing given the current climate of our country and the increase nationally in cases of hate crimes.”
Asked about the possibility of investigating Jabara’s death as a hate crime, Walker noted that hate crimes were classified as misdemeanors in his state.
“I think the ultimate hate crime is a murder,” he said. “If I was to charge him with a hate crime and if he was run in [sic] and pled guilty to that, that’s a misdemeanor in Oklahoma. So he’d be out sitting in his front yard and everyone would be outraged.”
“The hate crime part of it is going to be addressed in our murder investigation,” Walker added, noting Majors’ history of using ethnic slurs against the family. “That’s where we’re going to put this man away for the rest of his life so he won’t bother anyone again. I think everybody wants it to be a hate crime and it is a hate crime. But there’s more to it than just Jabara being of Middle Eastern descent and Majors being white.”