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Police: Man Killed After Barricading Self Inside S.I. Home, Shooting Firefighter Is Dead

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A suspected gang member who shot a firefighter, and then barricaded himself inside a home on Staten Island, was shot and killed by police Friday after a six-hour standoff.

As CBS2's Steve Langford reported, the standoff in his girlfriend's home on Destiny Court on Mariners Harbor ended with deafening finality at high noon, as police moved in on Garland Tyree, 38. He walked out of his home firing a loaded assault rifle, after refusing to be taken alive on a probation violation warrant.

Tyree had just spoken to his mother over the phone after authorities flew her in by helicopter from Delaware to Staten Island and told her he would go outside, police said. He had also indicated to authorities that he was going to surrender.

But that's when police heard gunshots coming from a window on one side of the building, Chief Harry Wheaton from the NYPD Special Operations Bureau said.

"These gunshots struck a private vehicle and one of our department vehicles," he said during a news conference Friday afternoon. "Immediately after that, Mr. Tyree exited the building on the other side of the building from the basement apartment, coming out firing rounds, numerous rounds."

Police: Man Who Barricaded Self Inside S.I. Home After Shooting Firefighter Is Dead

Soon afterward, Tyree died in a barrage of police gunfire, ending the standoff that began at the break of dawn when U.S. Marshals and the NYPD came here to take Tyree into custody.

"We recovered three hand guns – one AK-47, which was in his hands when he came out, one smoke grenade, two magazines -- one which is a drum magazine - 75 rounds in it, the other is a banana clip with 30 rounds in it," said NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce.

Police: Man Who Barricaded Self Inside S.I. Home After Shooting Firefighter Is Dead

Loved ones at the scene were hysterical as the alleged wanted gang member. After the gunfire, Tyree's family came out screaming, "They killed him," 1010 WINS' Glenn Schuck reported.

Tyree's mother defended her son hours after the incidents.

"My son wouldn't want to hurt a firefighter or nobody," said Roxanne Tyree Purcell. "I don't think he wanted to hurt nobody!"

The standoff began around 5:45 a.m. Friday when a U.S. Marshals regional task force went to arrest Tyree at his girlfriend's home on federal parole violation charges, police said.

As officers arrived to serve the warrant, they were "confronted with a smoke-filled situation" inside the basement apartment, which prompted them to call firefighters, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said.

Garland Tyree
Garland Tyree allegedly shot a firefighter on Staten Island and died following a standoff with police. (credit: Image via Facebook)

When firefighters responded to the scene, Tyree opened fire, striking 53-year-old FDNY Lt. James Hayes.

"Once through the right buttocks, and through the left calf," said Assistant FDNY Chief Joseph Pfeiffer.

For close to six hours, there was dialogue between negotiators, the suspect, and his loved ones.

Police said Tyree was armed with an assault rifle and was believed to be the only person inside the home. Authorities said they later determined that the smoke was caused by a commercial-grade smoke bomb.

Neighbors and concerned friends of Tyree gathered outside as the situation unfolded.

"You're not expecting gunshots at 6 in the morning when you're getting ready for work," neighbor Andrew Jones told WCBS 880's Paul Murnane.

A woman whom relatives identified as Tyree's girlfriend was seen inconsolable and leaving the area with investigators, CBS2's Janelle Burrell reported.

Police said officers spoke with Tyree by phone and with members of his family during the standoff. A hostage negotiating team and other emergency personnel were also called in.

"His main indicator was that he would surrender, those were his own words, when his mother arrived on the scene," said Lt. Jack Cambria with the NYPD hostage negotiating team. "Very sweet with the mom and the mom was very sweet with him. He said, 'I'm coming out now mama.' He said, 'I love you,' 'I love you' back, put the gun down and then right after that, the shots rang out."

Man Said He Would Surrender While Barricaded In S.I. Home

But one man, identifying himself as a close friend of the wanted man, claimed talks were hitting a dead end and Tyree said he was not coming out.

"It doesn't look like it's going anywhere right now at this moment," the man said.

Hours earlier, a post on Tyree's Facebook page written through his account said, "Today I die."

Still, police said Tyree finally told his mother over the phone that he was giving up.

"It was a very brief encounter – maybe three minutes, I would say – and they exchanged that they loved each other. And at that point, Tyree indicated he was going to surrender; again, his words, 'to come out,'" said NYPD Lt. Jack Cambria.

Man Said He Would Surrender While Barricaded In S.I. Home

But police said just before noon, six hours after the standoff began, Tyree exited the home shooting and the standoff ended with his death.

Tyree was wearing some kind of ballistic vest when he stormed out of the home, police sources told CBS2. Sources said it was a "thin" vest and was not a classic bulletproof vest.

It was not clear whether the police bullets penetrated the vest.

"While the outcome was not what we ever wish, we nevertheless fulfilled our mission to maintain public safety," Bratton said in the statement.

Bratton added in the statement: "As police officers, all of you have faced similar situations -- barricaded perpetrators, isolated and contained (emotionally disturbed persons), subjects in distress who we talk down, with force our last resort. Every day you keep the people of this city safe, and I commend YOU, as well. Take care tonight as you go about that mission, serving one city, safe and fair, everywhere for everyone."

Staten Island Standoff Weapon Recovered
The weapon recovered from the scene of standoff and shooting on Staten Island on Friday, Aug. 14. (Credit: NYPD News, via Twitter)

Police said Tyree had 18 prior arrests.

"He has been in and out of jail, he has been arrested for numerous crimes before," Boyce said. "He has been out of jail on probation since last summer, July of last summer. He violated those conditions of his probation, that's why we're here today."

Boyce said Tyree had previously been convicted of weapons, drug and assault charges.

He has been on probation since last summer, and was arrested for murder, but convicted on a lesser charge, in the early 1990s, officials said.

A police source told CBS2's Jessica Schneider that Tyree was also being investigated in several homicides in the city.

Police sources told CBS2 Tyree's parole violation involved a recent trip he made to the Bahamas. Conditions of Tyree's federal parole forbade him from traveling without permission – which he did not receive – and forbade him from traveling outside the country at all, sources said.

Meanwhile, firefighters and police officers gathered at Richmond University Medical Center where Hayes was being treated late Friday.

"Miraculously, the lieutenant is in stable condition and these wounds are not life threatening," Nigro said. "He is as comfortable as you can be after being shot twice."

Mayor Bill de Blasio also visited Hayes at the hospital.

"Someone that we should be profoundly proud of," de Blasio said. "He didn't hesitate to serve this city and to go into harm's way, not only in the context of what appeared to be a fire, but obviously in the context of which there was a dangerous person in there as well."

Hayes is a 31-year veteran of the FDNY who has been cited twice for bravery, officials said.

According to the FDNY, the last time a firefighter was shot in the line of duty was in 1994.

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