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UPDATED: Reputed Gang Leader Who Shot Fireman Dies in Shootout: Sources

By  Aidan Gardiner Murray Weiss and Janon Fisher | August 14, 2015 7:50am | Updated on August 14, 2015 3:59pm

 Garland Tyree locked himself inside 15 Destiny Court and set it on fire Friday morning, police said.
Garland Tyree locked himself inside 15 Destiny Court and set it on fire Friday morning, police said.
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MARINERS HARBOR — The East Coast head of the Bloods gang was killed in a shoot-out with police after a six-hour standoff during which he wounded a firefighter, shot at U.S. Marshals coming to arrest him and set off a smoke bomb, police and sources said.

Garland Tyree, 38, a member of the Bloods subset Nine Trey gang who the Regional Fugitive Task Force tried to arrest for a probation violation, emerged from his basement home at 15 Destiny Court firing an AK-47 assault rifle just before noon, according to NYPD Chief of Detectives Bob Boyce.

The ex-convict, who was wearing a bullet-proof vest, sprayed bullets wildly, hitting police vehicles and houses before police returned fire and killed him, according to the NYPD

Tyree — who served more than a decade in state and federal prison time weapons possession and assault —  foretold his death on Facebook as police surrounded his home.

Today I die

Posted by Garland Tyree on Friday, August 14, 2015

But during the standoff in the hours before the shootout, Tyree seemed calm as he spoke to a reporter over the phone.

"I don't know what they want. They just kicked in my door," Tyree calmly told DNAinfo New York earlier Friday morning.

Police were briefly in his home, but he beat them back by detonating a smoke grenade, which filled the place with heavy fumes, officials said.

Lt. James Hayes, 53, who went inside to investigate, was shot in the left calf and again in the  buttock, sources said. Hayes, a father of two and 31-year FDNY veteran of Staten Island's Engine 158, was listed in stable condition, Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said.

"I'm a person that takes life as it comes. It is what it is," said Tyree, who sources said heads the East Coast branch of the notorious Bloods gang.

"I'm at peace," he told DNAinfo.

The standoff began when four NYPD officers and four U.S. Marshals with the task force came to arrest Tyree on a federal warrant for violating his probation, police said.

"They kicked in my door and it popped off," he posted to Facebook, where he's listed as the CEO and Founder of Real Write Publishing LLC.

"The only weapon we know he has for sure is an assault rifle," said NYPD's Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce during a press conference with Commissioner Bill Bratton.


Hayes, who was the first firefighter shot in 21 years, was taken to Richmond University Medical Center where he was listed in stable condition, officials said. The fire commissioner and Mayor Bill de Blasio visited him about noon, reports said.

"He’s as comfortable as you can be after being shot twice," FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said during a press conference at the hospital.

De Blasio lauded his leadership. 

“His colleagues showed clear respect for the lieutenant," the mayor said at a press conference at the 121st Precinct in Staten Island. "The fact that the lieutenant was the one to make the decision to go into the dangerous situation, it added to the respect from the men he leads.”

The NYPD's hostage negotiators spoke with Tyree on his cell phone until he told them his phone was running out of battery and hung up, sources said.

Armed with shields, police approached the building to try to give him a new phone, but he fired on them, sources said.

None were hit.

Negotiators reached out to his family and girlfriend and eventually flew his mother up from Delaware in a helicopter. 

She spoke with Tyree for three minutes after arriving at the scene and he told her he would surrender. 

But just when police thought he was about to come out of the home, he fired out of a window, striking a police vehicle and private vehicle. 

Moments later he walked out firing from a basement door. 

Tyree, who was released from jail in July 2014, has an extensive and violent criminal history, officials said.

"He's been in and out of jail," Boyce said.

At the age of 16, he was arrested in December 1993 for the shooting death of a neighborhood rival, but was convicted on a lesser illegal gun possession charge when the jury found he acted in self-defense, according to court records. He posted a news clipping about the incident to his Instagram on Aug. 11.


I was a man/child

A photo posted by Garland Tyree (@garlandtyree) on

While in prison, he was charged with two more assaults for attacks on other inmates, records show.

Tyree was released in 2002 and arrested 16 days later when police found him with a cache of weapons and drug paraphernalia, according to court records.

About this time, FBI officials learned that he rose to the rank of godfather in the 9 Trey gang, according to a probationary officers report.

He was convicted for the guns and drugs charges in 2004, records show.

While behind bars, Tyree tutored other inmates preparing for their high school diploma equivalency exams and finished a law library training course.

In 2006, he was charged with beating another inmate, according to court records.

Four years later, he finished the Bureau of Prison's "Twelve Steps to Self-Improvement" and "Critical Thinking" programs, records show.

He was released from prison in 2012, but sent back the next year on a parole violation because he used cocaine, hung out with convicted felons and known gang associates, court records show. 

Police said he was released again in 2014, which he attributed to his hard work while behind bars.

"I was focused," he said in an interview posted to YouTube on Aug. 14, 2014.

"I knew that there was no going back for me. I knew that going back meant a life sentence," he said.

In the same interview, he advocated for gangs, saying they acted as a kind of support network for people who otherwise wouldn't have one.

"Gangs for us are what fraternities are for people that grow up differently. I'm trying to get my homies as well as other people's homies to see that this unity, it's about more than just chilling and drinking and smoking together and hustling together. It's about using that unity to better ourselves," he said.

"My mom raised me right. She always told me I'm never going to get a fair shake in this country. So, I just try harder and push harder," he said.

With reporting by Julia Bottles, Anton Nilsson and Trevor Kapp