Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Mayor: Lacy pretended to surrender before officers' deaths

ST. PETERSBURG — Hydra Lacy Jr. was lying on his stomach with his arms out as if he was about to surrender in the moments before the Jan. 24 gun battle that left two police officers dead, Mayor Bill Foster said in a television interview Monday night.

But it was a ruse. Lacy gave the "impression" that he was obeying the arresting officers before he ambushed them with a hidden gun in the attic, Foster said.

Sgt. Thomas J. Baitinger and canine Officer Jeffrey A. Yaslowitz were killed and Deputy U.S. Marshal Scott Ley was wounded in the ensuing two-hour gunfight. Police laid siege to Lacy's home with armored vehicles and nearly destroyed it until his body found was found hours later.

"They did it right," Foster told WTVT-Ch. 13 about the arresting officers. "They had made contact with Lacy. They had compliance. They used mirrors and flashlights (to search the attic). They didn't willy-nilly go into an attic to put themselves in harm's way."

It would have been easy for the suspect to conceal a handgun in the dark attic, the mayor said. The station also reported that Foster told them Lacy was hit by a shot from a Taser about the time he feigned his surrender; and that Lacy was later shot seven times by police gunfire. No official cause of death has been released, but Lacy's family said they believe he bled to death from at least two police gunshots.

Foster did not return repeated calls from the St. Petersburg Times seeking comments.

Yaslowitz and Ley were shot as they tried to arrest Lacy in the attic about 7:29 that morning, police said. Lacy had been wanted since missing his November trial for aggravated battery.

Baitinger was fatally wounded minutes later during a rescue mission to free the injured marshal. Yaslowitz was rescued two hours later when an armored vehicle and SWAT team stormed the house and fired up to 200 rounds at the suspect.

Both officers were pronounced dead at a hospital.

St. Petersburg police officials have declined to release more details about the incident until the State Attorney's Office investigation is complete. Police Chief Chuck Harmon said he could not comment on the mayor's account of the arrest attempt.

"I've heard different stories about what transpired," he said. "But I'll reserve judgment until all the facts are in, like I would do in any other case."

Jamal Thalji can be reached at or (727) 893-8472.

Mayor: Lacy pretended to surrender before officers' deaths 02/07/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 8, 2011 8:00am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trump's lawyers seek to undercut Mueller's Russia investigation


    Some of President Donald Trump's lawyers are exploring ways to limit or undercut Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, building a case against what they allege are his conflicts of interest and discussing the president's authority to grant pardons, the Washington Post reported, citing people familiar …

    President Donald Trump is said to be irritated by the notion that the special counsel's investigation could reach into his and his family's finances. [Associated Press]
  2. North Tampa shooting leaves one man dead


    Times staff

    TAMPA — A man was fatally shot Thursday afternoon after an argument with another man escalated, police said.

  3. St. Pete City Council tightens building rules in historic areas

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — There's a battle being waged over the soul of the city's historic neighborhoods.

    A new larger home sits next to a smaller one in the Kenwood neighborhood in St. Petersburg on Tuesday.
  4. Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze resigns over 'inappropriate conduct' (w/ video)


    OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze was at Jackson Country Club on Wednesday night, giving his yearly rah-rah speech about the Rebels overcoming adversity and getting ready for the college football season.

    If Hugh Freeze hadn’t resigned, Ole Miss says it would have fired him for violating his contract’s moral turpitude clause.
  5. Fennelly: With playoff chase in high gear, it's time for Rays to make a move

    The Heater


    Thursday was an off-day for the Rays, who are coming off a solid western swing. I assume there was no rest for the tag-team Rays baseball brain trust of Matt Silverman, Erik Neander and Chaim Bloom, whose job it is to improve this team in advance of the trade deadline. They've done a good job …

    Evan Longoria is glad to see the Rangers coming to town: He’s batting .296 against them with 15 homers and 56 RBIs in 69 career games.