A 38-year-old man who barricaded himself in his Staten Island apartment and shot a NYC firefighter has been taken down by police.
Garland Tyree, a former convict and member of the Bloods gang, was wanted for violating parole. When police arrived at his door attempting to arrest him on Friday just before 6 AM, Tyree refused to let them in and instead, set off a smoke grenade. What followed were several hours of negotiations and a standoff that would later end in the suspect’s death.
After setting off the smoke bomb, authorities called for backup, including the FDNY and the NYPD’s Emergency Service Unit . Fire Lt. James Hayes, 53, was one of the men who arrived at the scene and began communicating with Tyree through a window. When the suspect stopped talking, the veteran firefighter decided to enter the apartment, at which point the fugitive began shooting.
Hayes was hit in the leg and buttocks. He was taken to Richmond University Medical Center, where he is expected to make a full recovery. The incident marks the first time in 21 years that a NY City firefighter has been shot in the line of duty.
Tyree then began shooting at officers who had set up a perimeter outside, but no one else was injured. Police even flew in the suspect’s mother to help with getting him to surrender, but nothing could persuade him. After six hours and failed attempts by authorities to get him to stand down, Tyree emerged and began shooting at authorities once again with an AK-47. Authorities returned fire, and the suspect was killed.
Upon entering the residence, investigators found several other weapons, including three handguns and two magazines of ammunition. Authorities explain that Tyree had a long criminal record. He had been arrested 18 times, several times on gun and drug charges.
What was especially eerie about the situation was the fact that Tyree posted a message on his Facebook account, which read “Today, I die.”
We don’t yet know what could have motivated Tyree’s actions. The situation could have ended much differently, had he sought the help of a New York criminal defense attorney for the parole violations and even after opening fire with a deadly weapon. At some point during the standoff, it seemed as though Tyree would stand down. We have no idea what was going through his mind when he decided to open fire at authorities, but from his Facebook message, it seems as though he may have believed his fate was sealed.
It’s important for anyone who has been accused of committing a criminal offense to understand that they have rights and shouldn’t feel trapped by the charges that are looming against them. A criminal lawyer may have been able to negotiate a plea deal for Tyree, despite having fired a weapon.
The sooner legal help is sought, the faster an attorney can begin to create their defense strategy for their clients. Though some may think their situation is bleak, an experienced criminal defense lawyer who knows and understands the laws can significantly reduce the charges and penalties associated with a particular case.