Police: Man who shot NYC firefighter is dead

(AP) -- A high-ranking member of the Bloods street gang who was to be arrested on parole violations when he shot a firefighter responding to a call of smoke coming from his girlfriend's home died Friday in a gunfight with police after a six-hour standoff, two police officials said.

Garland Tyree, who had been communicating with police negotiators, ascended the basement stairs of a two-family Staten Island home firing an assault rifle at around noon, the police officials told The Associated Press. Police also fired shots, though it wasn't immediately clear if Tyree killed himself or was felled by police bullets, the officials said.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't permitted to discuss the case ahead of a mayoral press conference, scheduled for 1:30 p.m.

A U.S. Marshals task force had attempted to arrest Tyree, 38, for violating federal parole when smoke emerged from his girlfriend's apartment, said Robert Boyce, New York Police Department chief of detectives. Firefighters were responding to the scene when Tyree opened fire, striking a fire lieutenant in the left calf and buttocks, Boyce said. The lieutenant is in stable condition at a hospital.

Before the deadly gunfight that resulted in Tyree's death, he had fired four shots, including two at police that didn't hit anyone, police said. He had been previously convicted of weapons, drug and assault charges.

Members of his family and his girlfriend also communicated with police during the standoff, Boyce said.

An attorney for Tyree declined to comment. But a lawyer who represented him on a 2004 federal weapons conviction for which he was sentenced to 10 years said Tyree was "a really smart young man who's never caught a break."

"He managed to turn everything good that came his way into something bad, which is what happens when you grow up in a crack-infested environment," Susan G. Kellman said.

Tyree had been arrested 18 times and had been on probation since last summer, Boyce said. He was on supervised release following a 2013 conviction of violating federal probation by using drugs, associating with known gang members and convicted felons, court papers show.

A spokeswoman for federal prosecutors in Brooklyn declined to comment.

But federal court documents portrayed Tyree as an influential member of the Bloods with a violent record.

He pleaded guilty to weapon possession charges in connection with a 1995 murder and subsequently to two assaults while in custody -- once slashing an inmate on a bus between court and the Rikers Island jail complex and another time slashing an inmate so badly he required 60 stiches.

A July 2013 letter from federal prosecutors maintains that even while on parole, he attended a 2012 meeting of gang members, used drugs and was paid dues by other gang members. In a court proceeding, Tyree denied he was still a Blood.

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Associated Press writer Ula Ilnytzky contributed to this report.

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