Khalid Jabara was worried.
Last year, his mother had been jogging through the family’s quiet Tulsa neighborhood when she was nearly killed in a vicious hit-and-run. Police quickly arrested Vernon Majors, who, according to a police report, confessed to the crime and even offered a motive, calling the Jabaras “filthy Lebanese.”
On May 25 of this year, however, Majors bonded out of jail.
That’s when he returned home — right next to the Jabaras.
On Friday, Khalid learned that his next-door neighbor, the man accused of harassing his family and attacking his mother, was now armed.
“Khalid called the police stating this man had a gun and that he was scared for what might happen,” his sister, Victoria Jabara Williams, wrote on Facebook. “The police came and told him there was nothing to be done.”
Minutes later, Khalid was talking on the phone with his mother when he stepped outside to get the mail.
Majors was waiting for him, police say.
The 61-year-old opened fire, fatally wounding the 37-year-old Khalid, according to police.
After a bizarre standoff involving bare feet and a six-pack of beer, Majors was arrested. He will be formally charged with first-degree murder as soon as he is released from a hospital later this week, police said in a news release.
“This certainly is a tragedy … but this is not a whodunit,” Tulsa Police Sgt. Dave Walker told The Washington Post, citing one eyewitness account as well as the history of problems between Majors and his Lebanese neighbors.
What is a mystery, at least to the Jabara family, is why Majors was released from jail 10 weeks ago.
“My family lived in fear of this man and his hatred for years,” Victoria Jabara Williams wrote. “Yet in May, not even one year after he ran over our mother and despite our repeated protests, he was released from jail with no conditions on his bond — no ankle monitor, no drug/alcohol testing, nothing.”
“This man was a known danger,” she continued. “Our brother’s death could have been prevented.”
— 2 Works for You (@KJRH2HD) August 13, 2016
Police confirmed that Khalid Jabara had called 911 minutes before the shooting. Officers responded to a report of someone knocking on the Jabaras’ windows but did not question Majors and left at 6:40 p.m. — just eight minutes before the attack, Walker told The Post.
The sergeant acknowledged that the killing raised questions about how authorities handled the neighborhood feud.
“The Constitution allows for people to bond out,” Walker told The Post. “That said, certainly, knowing what we know today, decisions would be made differently.”
Majors — whose full name is Stanley Vernon Majors — had a history of violence before moving to Tulsa, Walker said. Court records show he was convicted in 2012 of assault with a deadly weapon and making “criminal threats” in San Bernardino County in California.
Majors appears to have moved to Oklahoma shortly afterward.
The problems with his neighbors began almost immediately, records show.
On Aug. 6, 2013, Khalid’s mother, Haifa Jabara, filed a restraining order against Majors, who is white. In the complaint, she said Majors had “harassed” and “stalked” her by “knocking at windows late at nite, harassing me with ugly sex words over the phone, taking pictures and harassing my helper in garage.
“He is very racist towards foreigners and blacks,” she wrote.
Majors responded by filing his own restraining order against her son, Khalid. Majors accused Khalid of harassment, vandalism, trespassing by placing notes on his door as well as “e-mail threats and blackmail.”
It was Majors, however, who was arrested and charged on March 18, 2015, with violating the restraining order.
“F— you and I want to kill you,” Majors told Haifa, according to a police report. “Jabara also stated to officers that Majors said multiple racial slurs to her today in her driveway.”
Majors, who the report said was intoxicated and “chugged his beer” instead of putting it down, was also charged with obstructing police.
Tensions between the two Tulsa households only increased over the summer.
“He repeatedly attacked our ethnicity and perceived religion, making racist comments,” Victoria Jabara Williams wrote on Facebook. “He often called us ‘dirty Arabs,’ ‘filthy Lebanese,’ ‘Aye-rabs,’ and ‘Mooslems.’ ”
(The Jabaras are actually Christian, Rebecca Abou-Chedid, a family friend, told The Post.)
Those tensions exploded into bloodshed on Sept. 12 of last year, authorities say.
A woman was driving through a suburban stretch of southeast Tulsa that afternoon when she spotted running shoes in the road. In a pool of blood nearby lay Haifa Jabara.
Haifa had a “severely broken left arm, a broken nose, and road rash all over her body,” according to a police report. Although Haifa said she had no recollection of the incident, her son, Khalid, said he could guess what happened.
“Khalid stated that his mother was not hit randomly while walking, and that she was in fact run over by Vernon Majors,” the officer wrote. “When I asked how he came to this conclusion, he stated that he just knows. Khalid stated that his mother has a protective order against Majors and that they have been arguing back [and] forth for months. Khalid stated that Majors is always causing issues for his family and making negative comments about Muslim people.”
When police located Majors inside an apartment complex near the scene of the hit-and-run, “he was extremely drunk and urinating, without the use of his hands, through his open pants,” according to an incident report.
“Is she ok? Haifa?” Majors said, according to the police report. “I was out driving my car, drunk. I’m always drunk and you guys never stop me. And there was this rabbit, and Haifa jumped out in front of my car.”
“Majors went on to repeat this with variations including that he ‘hit her’ and ‘I left because I was scared,'” the officer wrote in the report. Police found his car with its windshield shattered and “what appeared to be blood or tissue stuck on it.”
Majors “frequently calls in to complain about Ms. Jabara,” the officer added. “On previous interactions Majors repeatedly referred to his neighbors, the Jabara family, as ‘Aye-rabs’ and ‘Mooslems’ (Arabs and Muslims).”
Questioned after the hit-and-run, “Majors remarked that Mrs. Jabara and her family were filthy Lebanese and they throw gay people off roof tops,” another officer wrote.
Majors was charged with assault and battery with a deadly weapon, leaving the scene of a collision involving injury, violating a protective order and public intoxication, according to court records.
Despite the seriousness of the charges, and the fact that he lived right next to his alleged victim, Majors was released after posting $60,000 bond on May 25, 2016. He was awaiting trial on multiple charges relating to the hit-and-run when the shooting occurred last week, police said in a news release Monday night.
“This guy was fixated on the family for a long time,” Tulsa police Capt. Shellie Seibert told The Post. “He used to call the police on them no matter what, if they stepped on his lawn or anything. He ran over the mother last year. He had pending charges. He was out on bond for that. He had some unusual fixation with them.”
On Friday, that “fixation” returned with deadly force, according to authorities.
Khalid learned from another neighbor that Majors had somehow obtained a gun.
“My brother called the police to explain to them that we were scared because we heard he had a gun,” Victoria Jabara Williams wrote on Facebook. “The police left, saying they could do nothing, and, 30 minutes later … the criminal walked up to my brother and shot him on his front porch.”
In fact, officers left just eight minutes before neighbors reported hearing gunshots, Sgt. Walker said.
Khalid was on the phone with his family when he was killed, Abou-Chedid told The Post.
Walker said a cellphone was found on the Jabaras’ front porch, along with three shell casings.
The neighbor on the other side of the Jabara residence heard gunshots and looked outside in time to see Majors shoot Khalid a final time, Walker said. Several other neighbors heard the gunshots and saw Majors “circling” the wounded man.
When one neighbor screamed at Majors to leave, he pointed his gun at the neighbor before fleeing in his bare feet, leaving footprints in blood and then mud between the two houses, Walker told The Post. A large-caliber handgun was found near the location of the shooting.
Paramedics took Khalid to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Police, meanwhile, surrounded Majors’s house. They ordered him to surrender but received no response.
Finally, an officer spotted Majors hiding behind a tree behind the Jabara residence and arrested him. “We did find a six-pack of beer pretty close to where we arrested him,” said Walker, adding that Majors was “somewhat” intoxicated.
Majors was taken to the hospital after falling ill upon arrest, and will be formally charged with first-degree murder as soon as he is well enough to leave the hospital, police said in a news release. There are no other suspects, police said.
It was unclear Tuesday morning if Majors had a lawyer. His most recent attorney did not respond to a request for comment. Marvin Lizama, an attorney who has represented Majors in the past, said he was surprised by the arrest.
“I could not have expected Mr. Majors to do what he is accused of doing,” Lizama said in an email to The Post. “My thoughts and prayers are for the grieving family who lost a beloved son.”
This time, Majors did not make any statements when he was arrested, instead invoking his right to an attorney, Walker said.
And this time, bail is unlikely.
That is little comfort to the Jabara family.
“We are outraged,” Victoria Jabara Williams wrote on Facebook. “I want to shed light and bring awareness to the negligence that occurred from the first moment the neighbor … this monster … called our family ‘Dirty Arabs’, to the time he ran over my mother with his car, to the two Protective Order violations, and our constant vigilance to communicate and be proactive with the DA’s, to the fact that they let him out of jail after 8 months.”
She said Majors should have been charged with a “hate crime” in September and kept behind bars.
“He should not have been released without monitoring,” she wrote in another Facebook post. “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.”
“While one cannot explain irrationality and evil, one thing I can explain is that indifference and inaction were major factors leading to Khalid’s death,” wrote his brother, Rami Jabara. “As an attorney, I have seen the system fail defendants, but it also seems to fail the victims just as much or perhaps more. I feel like my family lost, my community lost. My brother lost. We all lost. I feel like we did everything we possibly could do [to] advocate for and protect ourselves.”
“We feel like this was absolutely avoidable,” added Khalid’s sister-in-law, Jenna Jabara, in an email to The Post. “We all felt some measure of security while he was in custody. We are obviously working through so many emotions right now – sadness, grief, anger, disbelief – and we can’t help but see how this wouldn’t have happened had he been in custody.”
Abou-Chedid, the family friend, told The Post that the Jabaras were too distraught to speak Monday night.
“They are in shock, they are heartbroken and they are angry because there is nothing [more] they could have done to keep themselves safe, to keep their brother safe and to keep their mother safe,” she said. “It’s one thing if this guy came out of nowhere and shot their brother. But this is a person who was in jail for running over their mother. And it just seems like a system that doesn’t protect a family from someone who was a known threat to them is a broken system.”
Abou-Chedid also suggested the current political climate could have played a role in the killing.
“After 9/11 you did not see the rhetoric that you see now. It’s gotten so much worse,” she said. “If crazy people keep hearing that Mexicans are rapists and Arabs are terrorists, well then who are crazy people going to take their craziness out on?”
The Jabara family is well known and loved in Tulsa, where they settled after moving to the United States in the early 1980s, according to Abou-Chedid. Haifa Jabara runs a popular Lebanese food catering business. Her husband, who was home during the attack, is ill.
“They were a very nice family,” said a neighbor who asked not to be named. She said the whole neighborhood had been “watching out” for Majors, who was known to be “violent.” And she said she was “surprised and shocked” when Majors was allowed to leave jail before his trial.
In their online posts, Khalid’s siblings sought to contrast him with his alleged attacker.
Khalid “was hilarious, quirky, very intelligent, and really would give all of himself for anyone he loved,” his brother wrote.
“Sensitive to the core, he loved others so much and wanted to be loved back,” said his sister.
“Our brother Khalid was just 37 years old and had his whole life ahead of him,” she wrote. “He was a kind spirit, loving brother, uncle and son. Khalid’s heart was big. He cared for our entire family, our friends and people he didn’t even know. He created every Jabara family joke and filled our lives with love and laughter. All of that has been taken away from us by this hateful man and a system that failed to protect our community.”
This post has been updated.