Yesterday, 38-year-old Garland Tyree engaged in a standoff with firefighters and police officers at a home in Staten Island, shooting one firefighter and barricading himself in his home until he was shot to death during a shootout with cops. Tyree, who was a gang leader with alleged ties to a number of homicides, apparently knew he wouldn't come out of the standoff alive, posting "Today I die" on Facebook; he also requested his mother be flown in from Delaware in negotiations with cops.
The standoff, which lasted about six hours, began at around 5:45 a.m. yesterday when U.S. Marshals arrived at Tyree's Staten Island residence to arrest him for a parole violation. When officers arrived, they say they found Tyree had set off a smoke bomb in his apartment. When firefighters showed up at the scene, Tyree shot 53-year-old Lt. James Hayes, who had been trying to communicate with him, in his left calf and right buttock—he posted the "Today I die" message just a few minutes later.
Hostage negotiators then contacted Tyree, who requested that his mother be flown in from Delaware to speak with him. They reportedly spoke for about three minutes—his mother told him, "We'll deal with this. Come out. We love you," to which he responded, "I love you. I'm coming out now, Mama."
When Tyree emerged, however, he brought an AK-47 assault weapon with him, firing at police officers—he also shot at an officer and a civilian car from his window before stepping outside. Cops shot back, and Tyree was declared dead at around noon.
The Staten Island Advance has video from the scene:
Tyree's mother, Purcell Tyree, criticized police for their violent response to the standoff. ""It's like they had me come here to watch my son get murdered," she told SI Advance. "He wouldn't have me come all the way from Delaware to watch him get shot down."
Meanwhile, Hayes, who is the first NYC firefighter to be shot on duty in 21 years, was taken to Richmond University Medical Center—he is expected to survive, and is reportedly "in good spirits." "Lieutenant Hayes is a very, very impressive guy - cool, calm, collected. He’s making light of his injuries,” Mayor de Blasio said at a press conference yesterday. “Thank God, thank God his injuries are limited as they were. And that really is extraordinary given the situation he’s in.”
Authorities say Tyree, who was also an urban fiction writer, had 18 prior arrests, and had been on probation since last summer. Soon after he was released, he sat down for an interview with an online hip-hop magazine, telling them he got into writing as a way to stay out of prison. “I was focused. I knew that there was no going back for me,” he said. “I knew going back meant a life sentence.”