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De Blasio Questioned About Going To Gym After Firefighter Shot On Staten Island

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio refused to answer a question Friday about going to the gym hours after a firefighter was shot by a man who later barricaded himself inside a home on Staten Island.

De Blasio's press secretary, Karen Hinton, said the mayor was at the gym for at least 80 minutes during the standoff, which started at around 6 a.m.

De Blasio arrived at his Park Slope gym at 9 a.m. and stayed until 10:40 a.m., according to Hinton.

The mayor spoke with Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton "several times by phone on shooting early morning & at gym," Hinton Tweeted.

Lt. James Hayes
FDNY Lt. James Hayes was shot twice responding to a fire on Staten Island on Aug. 14, 2015. (credit: FDNY)

De Blasio arrived at Richmond University Medical Center to visit Lt. James Hayes, who had been shot twice but whose injuries are not life threatening, at around noon.

Asked at an afternoon news conference about the matter, de Blasio was terse.

"Mayor, there's reports you were at the gym during this entire process, can you give any sort of --" a reporter said.

"We're briefing you all on a very serious situation, and that's just not a serious question," de Blasio said.

De Blasio Questioned About Going To Gym After Firefighter Shot On Staten Island

The episode did not sit well with some in the city, who thought de Blasio should have rushed to Staten Island immediately to be with the firefighter and his family, CBS2's Marcia Kramer reported.

"I think it's very insensitive of him. His priorities, I think he should be with the family if possible," one Park Slope resident said.

Also not amused was Sergeant's Benevolent Association president Ed Mullins.

"Even the Emperor Nero attempted to put the fire out in Rome; contrary to the rumors that he was responsible for causing it," Mullins said.

Mullins has previously been outspoken in his criticism of the mayor.

"If true, I am once again saddened for all New Yorkers as to the lack of leadership from City Hall. Hopefully, much like the ashes of Rome, a more spectacular New York City will rise again," Mullins said.

The suspect, 38-year-old Garland Tyree, was shot and killed by police hours after the standoff began.

Tyree opened fire on officers after walking out of the Mariners Harbor home, Bratton said.

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