TULSA, Okla. – For years, the Jabara family says, their neighbor terrorized them.
He called them names — “dirty Arabs,” “filthy Lebanese,” they said.
He hurled racial epithets at those who came to work on their lawns, they alleged.
He ran Haifa Jabara over with his car and went to court for it.
And it all came to a head last week when the man, Stanley Vernon Majors, walked up to the front steps of the family home and shot and killed Khalid Jabara, police said.
“The frustration that we continue to see anti-Muslim, anti-Arab, xenophobic rhetoric and hate speech has unfortunately led up to a tragedy like this,” said the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
These are tense times for Muslim-Americans — and those perceived to be Muslims. (The Jabaras are Christians of Lebanese descent.)
Ever since the Paris attacks, carried out by extremists hiding behind religion, xenophobic bile has poured out. Then came San Bernardino, and after it anti-Muslim rhetoric from the Trump campaign, and a steady stream of hateful incidents came rolling in.
What makes the Jabara case stand out is how authorities had several opportunities to intervene, but appeared to have bungled.
“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,” the family said.
A long history of harassment
The Jabara family moved into their Tulsa home 12 years ago. A few years later, Stanley Majors moved into the house next door.
The harassment and intimidation began almost immediately — although the family can’t point to a particular reason why.
“He’d call us names all the time. ‘You dirty Arabs, get out of here,’” the mother, Haifa Jabara, told CNN.
“I had a guy who mowed our lawn, he’s black. He’d scream, ‘You N-word, get out of here.”
Neighbors lodged several complaints with police against Majors over his behavior.
And in 2013, the family filed a protective order, which forbade Majors from having any contact with the Jabaras.
It didn’t make a difference.
“Every time I came outside at night, he’d scream and yell at me. Scared me to death,” Jabara said.
Attack while awaiting trial
In 2015, Haifa Jabra says she was taking a walk in the neighborhood when Majors ran her over with his car.
“He came from the back and hit me hard,” she said. “I fell on the floor, bloody, bleeding from my head. A lady was passing by, called 911 and rescued me,” she said.
She spent weeks in the hospital with a broken shoulder, collapsed lung and fractured ribs, among other injuries.
Police charged Majors with felony assault. Initially, he was held in custody without bond. But three months ago, a judge allowed his release until his trial in March 2017.
“My family lived in fear of this man and his hatred for years. 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,” the family said.
Majors’ lawyer, Marvin Lizama, said the man had been in good spirits since his release.
“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.”
Family begged for protection
The family feared the harassment would just escalate.
On Friday, the night of his murder, Khalid Jabara called police to report his neighbor had a gun.
Officers arrived on scene but they couldn’t go inside Major’s home to check, so they left, said police spokeswoman Ashley Leland.
About 10 minutes after officers left, Majors shot Khalid Jabara, police said. The victim died at a hospital.
He will be buried Friday.
After the shooting, officers found Majors hiding behind a tree at a library.
He was charged with first-degree murder. And this time, he’s being held without bail.