Man gunned down in Christmas shootout at Long Island shelter did prison time for fatal DWI crash

Thomas Tracy, New York Daily News

The man killed in a bloody Christmas morning shootout at a Long Island homeless shelter was a parolee who pleaded guilty to killing his friend in a 2015 drunken driving crash, police revealed Saturday.

Stephan Harbison, 33, of Coram, was shot dead Friday after he ordered a resident to come down to the lobby of a Commack shelter then swapped gunfire with the resident’s relative, authorities said.

The relative, identified as 35-year-old Frenel Jean of Dix Hills, was wounded in the bizarre shooting and taken to a local hospital, said police.

No immediate charges were filed against Frenel as investigators were trying to determine why Harbison confronted the shelter resident.

On Jan. 26, 2015, Harbison was arrested for a crash in Deer Park that killed his 28-year-old friend Hamzah Abdul-Hakim. A third man in the car suffered a traumatic brain injury, police said.

Harbison’s blood alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit when he crashed the car. During his arrest, he gave police a fake name and claimed he wasn’t driving.

He continued to delay the case by switching attorneys and refused to cooperate with investigators. Harbison finally pleaded guilty in 2017 in exchange for a more lenient prison sentence, Newsday reported.

“I’m truly, truly, truly sorry,” he said at his sentencing where a judge ordered him behind bars for a minimum of three years including time served. “Hamzah was like a brother to me. That day, I took a loss, too.”

Justice Fernando Camacho said Harbison was “incapable of feeling remorse” and noted that the convicted man called his insurance company to see if he could get more money from the crash, according to Newsday.

Harbison was released from prison in February 2018. He violated his parole in October 2019 and was sent back for four months, court papers show.

He was released this February and was on parole until 2025.