Shortly before emerging from an apartment armed with a fully automatic AK-47, Garland Tyree tenderly told his mother over the phone Friday he had agreed to surrender after a six-hour standoff with police.
“I’m coming out, Mama,” he said, according to the New York Police Department’s top hostage negotiator, Lt. Jack Cambria.
Instead Tyree, a wanted high-ranking member of a street gang who hours earlier shot and injured a firefighter responding to heavy smoke in the house he had barricaded himself in, fired his weapon at police and was shot and killed in return.
“It should go without saying, but it cannot go without saying, that this is not the way we want these kinds of negotiations to end,” Police Commissioner William Bratton told reporters at a news conference with Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Tyree, 38, was to be arrested early Friday morning at a two-family Staten Island home by four U.S. Marshals and four New York City detectives for violating parole. But he refused to open the door, officials said, and then ignited a commercial-grade smoke bomb, prompting the officers to call the Fire Department.
When FDNY Lt. James S. Hayes arrived at the scene, he spoke with Tyree through the door and entered the apartment before he was shot in the left calf and buttocks, officials said. Hayes, a 31-year veteran of the department, was released from the hospital the next day and is the first city firefighter to be shot responding to a scene since 1994.
A member of the task force fired once at the home as he dragged Hayes to safety, officials said.
An emergency response team was then called and the house was surrounded as hostage negotiators got to work, getting his sister and a friend on the phone — and even flying Tyree’s mother in a police helicopter from Delaware. Three times before the deadly confrontation, Tyree fired his weapon and officers didn’t return fire, Bratton said.
When he did emerge, wearing a bulletproof vest, his shots struck police cars and a neighbor’s house, officials said.
“The NYPD showed extraordinary restraint and care,” de Blasio said. “The NYPD really went the extra mile here.”
For Tyree, it was a violent end to a violent life, foreseen in an online post at about 7:00 a.m., after Hayes was shot, when he wrote, “Today I die.”
Tyree was convicted in 1995 of weapons charges connected to a murder and subsequently was convicted of two slashing assaults while in custody — one with a razor while aboard a correctional bus and another so vicious the other inmate received 60 stitches.
In total, he was arrested 18 times and convicted in 2004 on federal gun charges for which he was sentenced to 10 years in prison, officials said.