Khalid Was the ‘Fun’ Uncle

By Akiba Solomon Aug 18, 2016

The family of Khalid Jabara—the 37-year-old Lebanese-American man fatally shot by a racist next-door neighbor—is burying him today (August 18). The private ceremony is taking place at an Orthodox Christian church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 

If you’re not familiar with the case, Khalid Jabara, whose death inspired last week’s #Justice4Khalid hashtag, was killed on August 12 by Stanley Vernon Majors, a White 60-something man who had been terrorizing his family for about five years. McClatchy DC reports that Majors sent the family threatening phone calls, letters and e-mails. In a Facebook statement Khalid’s sister, Victoria Jabara Williams, posted after her brother’s death wrote that Majors routinely used racial slurs such as used slurs such as “dirty Arabs,” “filthy Lebanese,” “Aye-raba” and “Mooslems.” In 2013, Jabara’s mother, Haifa, took out an order of protection against him. Majors allegedly violated it twice—first for harassing the family’s Easter guests last year, second for hitting Haifa with his car. The mother sustained multiple serious injuries but survived. 

The evening Majors allegedly murdered Khalid, he was out of jail on bond. Before the shooting, police were informed that Majors—who in 2012 was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon and making criminal threats in an unrelated San Bernardino, California, incident—was brandishing a gun. Officers came to the scene but left before encountering Majors. Khalid was shot on his porch as he begged his mother not to come home because their neighbor had a gun. The alleged murderer is currently in local custody. Authorities have not classified the killing as a hate crime so far. 

Last night Jabara’s sister in law, Jenna Jabara, communicated with Colorlines via an e-mail exchange facilitated by family friend and spokesperson Rebecca Abou-Chedid. Here is the brief—and heartbreaking—exchange. 

We’re so sorry for your loss. Can you tell us if your family will be moving? 

My in-laws love their home and their neighbors and have no plans to move. We will do everything we can to make sure that Vernon Majors will never be released from prison so that our family can be safe in their home.

Majors [allegedly] hit your mother-in-law with his car. He was released on bond after eight months in jail. The day of Khalid’s death, he was threatening the family with a gun. What did police say when the family called for help that day?

Haifa Jabara had a protective order issued against Majors in 2013. She was run over by Majors’ car on September 12, 2015.  Majors was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous (later amended to deadly) weapon, leaving the scene of a collision involving injury, violation of a protective order, and public intoxication. Despite our objections and the obvious threat Majors posed to his neighbors, [one] judge placed bond at only $60,000 and [another]* removed the ankle monitor requirement while he was awaiting trial for attacking Haifa. Majors posted bond and was released from police custody on May 23, 2016 with no conditions on his release. 

​We feel Khalid’s death was absolutely avoidable. 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. Majors was not permitted to have a gun but we do not know what the police said to him.

How are you all explaining what happened to the young people in your family and greater community?

This is obviously a very difficult time for our family.  Khalid was the "fun" uncle and it’s very difficult to explain why he is not here.  It is a conversation we never imagined having as a family.

How can the public help?

The local Tulsa community has been so supportive. They have come together to create a fund to support our family, which you can find here. We are so grateful for the love and support we have received from people across the country.

*Piece has been updated since publication to indicate two seperate judges.