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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

A shooting casts a pall over NY's political week

Carey Gabay is seen at a party hosted

Carey Gabay is seen at a party hosted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo for commissioners and senior staff at the executive mansion on Dec. 12, 2011. Credit: Governors Office

Held annually during a week when election campaigns are ramping up, Brooklyn's boisterous West Indian American Day celebration reliably draws respectful tributes and attendance from local politicians.

But violence also has coincided with the carnival, the parade and the ceremonies. Every year, amid beefed-up police coverage, people of goodwill note what a shame it was that bloodshed once again marred the festivities.

This year the troubles out of Crown Heights delivered an especially tragic personal story to overshadow the runup to Wednesday's return to public schools, Thursday's primary elections, and Friday's 9/11 commemorations.

Carey Gabay, a Cuomo administration lawyer who grew up in Bronx public housing and graduated from Harvard Law School, lay critically wounded Tuesday at Kings County Hospital Center after being caught in an exchange of gunfire between gang-affiliated criminals early Sunday, officials said.

Clearly shaken, Cuomo told CNN Tuesday of Gabay's condition: "It's nothing good, I can tell you that."

Gabay, 43, works at the Empire State Development Corporation, where he was first deputy general counsel. Police said he was walking with his brother at the early-morning opening of the annual J'Ouvert festival when the shooting began. Gabay was hit in the head.

Nearly 30 shots were fired, from as many as three guns, said police, who were advertising a $12,500 reward for information leading to the shooters' capture.

Politically, the conversation turns once again to gangs, guns and crime rates. "We have a pretty good idea of the two gangs involved, we know everybody that's in those gangs," said Police Commissioner William Bratton, who described Gabay as an innocent victim.

Cuomo said: "What's happening to me in New York and to New Yorkers is, yes, we have laws on the books that protect people. The guns are coming in from other states. The only way to deal with this is a national gun policy."

Mayor Bill de Blasio called it "another heartbreaking reminder of our fight to get guns off our streets."

De Blasio has faced special pressures as his loudest critics pound away at a perception of increased disorder in the city despite continued reports of low crime rates.

"Murders are up," said Ray Kelly, the previous police commissioner, in conjunction with his release of a memoir called "Vigilance: My Life Serving America and Protecting Its Empire City," written with former Newsday columnist Ellis Henican. "And if you have a propensity to carry a gun and there's a policy to de-emphasize stop and question and frisk, it's only common sense you'll see more people carrying guns, and more crime."

Bratton and other policing professionals dispute that analysis, citing crime statistics and reports of how searches actually were conducted under Kelly's stewardship. Either way it shows the flashpoint issue that crime and policing continue to be.

Guns, meanwhile, didn't explain all the calamities of the Brooklyn weekend.

Not far from the Gabay shooting early Sunday, a man identified by police as Denentro Josiah, 24, of the Bronx, was fatally stabbed. Police said Josiah, with a criminal record including drug-related arrests, was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Another man, identified as an 18-year-old, was critically wounded near the parade route on Monday, police said -- also a stabbing victim.


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