Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Petersburg police searched Hydra Lacy Jr.'s home three times before shooting

ST. PETERSBURG — Amid the chaos that surrounded the deaths of two police officers last week, this much is clear: Officers entering Hydra Lacy Jr.'s house knew he was a fugitive and possibly armed.

Their search wasn't the first.

Police records released to the St. Petersburg Times Tuesday show that other teams of officers had searched 3734 28th Ave. S two months earlier under the same threat of gunfire.

Lacy's wife, Christine, had called police Nov. 20 at 9:53 a.m. to say her husband — on the lam from a missed court date — had shown up just after midnight.

"She had her 9mm pistol on the bed,'' Officer James M. Stewart wrote in a report. "When he entered the bedroom, he took the gun and placed it on top of the dresser.''

She told police that Hydra was still there when she left for work at 8 a.m. and she wanted him arrested.

A computer check confirmed that Hydra was wanted, Stewart wrote, and "may be armed with a 9mm handgun.''

The report doesn't specify what time officers arrived at the house, and none agreed to be interviewed for this story.

Christine unlocked the house and removed her three Rottweilers so Stewart and backup officers could search the house. Neither Lacy nor a gun were found. The report doesn't say whether they looked in the attic.

Later that night, at 6:50 p.m., she called again. Someone had alerted her that her husband was back home.

Details of this call are sketchy because no one filed a report, said St. Petersburg police spokesman Bill Proffitt. But brief "call notes'' show that one or more officers searched the house again, with no luck.

Two months later, in a similar search, St. Petersburg police Officers Jeffrey Yaslowitz and Tom Baitinger died after a shootout with Hydra, who was holed up in the attic with a gun. Investigators had gone to the house to question Christine about her husband's whereabouts.

Hydra's family and friends have said his estranged wife often let him stay at the house.

Christine has repeatedly declined comment. But the reports released Tuesday show that — before the day of the shootings — she had reached out to police four times to try to get her husband arrested.

The first time was Nov. 1, immediately after Hydra did not show up for an 8:30 a.m. trial on 2009 aggravated assault charges. Police say he had broken his wife's nose and jaw, hit her with a bottle and stabbed her with a samurai sword. The judge issued a warrant for his arrest.

Christine's sister, Carol A. Jewell, has complained to reporters that she and her sister tried to tell police that day they could arrest Lacy at the house.

"The police said, 'We are sorry, there is no warrant,' '' Jewell said. "Then my sister said, 'There is an injunction. He is not supposed to be there. Arrest him for that.'

"They said they had lost the paperwork. So I took her to my house.''

Again, police records of this interchange are sketchy because no one wrote a formal report. But brief "call notes'' show how legal terminology and court processes led to miscommunication between citizen and cop.

Christine, indeed, called police at 9:34 a.m. Nov. 1, an hour after her husband missed his trial. She told them Hydra was at their house. There was a warrant for his arrest and she had "an injunction" against him, she said. She also said she didn't know if he had a gun, but hers was hidden in a washroom closet in a shoe rack.

Police checked for any warrants or injunctions, but found none, according to police notes from the call. That was accurate at the time.

The judge's warrant wouldn't show up in law enforcement computers for 24 hours. That is typical because both court and sheriff's officials must verify that warrants are for the right people and charge, said Alan Hebdon, supervisor for criminal court records.

Also, there wasn't an injunction against Hydra. After his 2009 arrest, a judge issued a "no contact'' order, telling him to stay away from his wife. But that would not show up in court records as an "injunction."

At that point, Christine gave up.

"Since we were not going to arrest her husband, she did not want us to talk to him,'' the call notes say. "Then she left.''

Her next two calls to police came on Nov. 20, when officers twice searched for Hydra unsuccessfully.

On Nov. 21, Christine called again. She was working at the VFW post on 49th Street. She told police a man had called her cell phone, and she was pretty sure it was Hydra. The message: "She was not going to make it home tonight alive.''

She told Officer Michael Bauer she was going to stay with friends until police arrested Hydra on the warrant, but asked for an escort home so she could let the dogs out for a while.

"She was afraid Hydra might be at her place even though she changed the locks,'' Bauer wrote. "I explained to her that her husband can go to her house when she is not there, which is not a violation of the protection order. Technically, Hydra still resides at the residence.''

Bauer and another officer searched the house before she went inside, he wrote. There was no sign of forced entry.

Bauer's report makes no specific mention of guns or Hydra's fugitive status but does reference the previous day's reports, which do.

Police officers can access prior reports from laptop computers in their cars, Proffitt said.

That, presumably, would include the officers who visited the Lacy house that fateful morning of Jan. 24. It's unclear whether they read all the reports involving Hydra, but here is what Christine said the last time she contacted police on Jan. 8:

She told Officer David Brody that she had spoken to her husband the week before by phone.

"Hydra made statements to the effect of, he was not going back to prison,'' the officer wrote, "and he would shoot it out with police."

St. Petersburg police searched Hydra Lacy Jr.'s home three times before shooting 02/01/11 [Last modified: Thursday, February 3, 2011 1:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. GOP's new repeal bill would likely leave millions more uninsured, analyses suggest


    WASHINGTON — The latest Republican bid to roll back the Affordable Care Act would likely leave millions of currently insured Americans without health coverage in the coming decades, and strip benefits and protections from millions more, a growing number of independent studies suggest.

    Vice President Mike Pence listens as President Donald Trump talks to reporters about the Graham-Cassidy health care bill during a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi at the Palace Hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in New York. [Evan Vucci | Associated Press]
  2. Mueller casts broad net in requesting extensive records from Trump White House


    WASHINGTON — The special counsel investigating Russian election meddling has requested extensive records and email correspondence from the White House, covering the president's private discussions about firing his FBI director and his response to news that the then-national security adviser was under …

    In a photograph provided by the Russian foreign ministry, President Donald Trump meets with Sergei Lavrov, left, the Russian foreign minister, and Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, May 10, 2017. Special counsel Robert Mueller is interested in this meeting, where Trump said dismissing FBI Director James Comey had relieved "great pressure" on him, the New York Times reported on Sept. 20. [Russian Foreign Ministry via  New York Times]
  3. 'We will find our island destroyed': Hurricane Maria demolishes Puerto Rico


    SAN JUAN — Sleepless Puerto Ricans awoke Wednesday knowing to expect a thrashing from the most ferocious storm to strike the island in at least 85 years. They met nightfall confronting the ruin Hurricane Maria left behind: engorged rivers, blown-out windows, sheared roofs, toppled trees and an obliterated electric …

    Rescue vehicles from the Emergency Management Agency stand trapped under an awning during the impact of Hurricane Maria, after the storm  hit the eastern region of the island, in Humacao, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017. The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Maria has lost its major hurricane status, after raking Puerto Rico. But forecasters say some strengthening is in the forecast and Maria could again become a major hurricane by Thursday. [Carlos Giusti | Associated Press]
  4. Obamacare repeal bill offers flexibility and uncertainty


    The latest Republican proposal to undo the Affordable Care Act would grant states much greater flexibility and all but guarantee much greater uncertainty for tens of millions of people.

  5. Manafort offered to give Russian billionaire 'private briefings' on 2016 campaign, report says


    Less than two weeks before Donald Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination, his campaign chairman offered to provide briefings on the race to a Russian billionaire closely aligned with the Kremlin, the Washington Post reports.

    Paul Manafort, then Donald Trump's campaign chairman, talks to reporters on the floor of the Republican National Convention at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. [Associated Press]