Widow of the man who gunned down two police officer seeks damages after her home was demolished
7:07 PM, Jan 29, 2014
2:27 AM, Jan 30, 2014
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Nothing is left of Christine Lacy's home, only an empty lot where it once stood at 3734 28th Ave. S. in St. Petersburg.
The city razed her home three years ago after her husband, Hydra Lacy Jr., a fugitive, killed two St. Petersburg police officers and a deputy U.S. marshal. The house was rendered unstable in the aftermath, and then-mayor Bill Foster ordered it torn down.
Christine Lacy said she can't afford to rebuild and wants the bare minimum for the expense. She has filed a lawsuit seeking about $64,000 in damages, naming the city, Foster and former police Chief Chuck Harmon as defendants.
Shortly after the house was torn down, the suit says, Foster said, "The City will make sure she is made whole."
Jim Wardell, her lawyer, said that hasn't happened and Lacy has done everything besides filing suit, including penning a personal plea to Foster in May.
"She was left with no choice because the city refused to honor what they said they were going to do," Wardell said. "Christine is not looking for or asking for any damages for any pain and suffering. She is just asking to be reimbursed for things that were taken from her. All her worldly possessions were in that house."
In her letter to Foster, Lacy wrote she'd been holding off filing a lawsuit out of respect for the families of the fallen officers.
"As much as I don't want to do this, it is no longer up to me," she wrote. "It is up to you. Are you a man of your word or not? My conscience is clear, yours will not be!"
But no one responded, Wardell said, and the statute of limitations is running out.
"This was a horrible tragedy for the entire community and she recognizes what she has ended up suing for is nothing compared to what some other people lost, and in this case where they lost their loved ones," Wardell said. "And that was important to her. She did not want to bring it all but she was left with no choice."
Hydra Lacy was hiding in an attic and ambushed law enforcement when they arrived to serve warrant for his arrest. He killed Officer Jeff Yaslowitz and Sgt. Tom Baitinger and injured U.S. Marshal Scott Ley.
Officers riddled the Lacy home with bullets, broke down its door with an armored vehicle and levelled its walls with a battering ram, all in an effort to save their own and protect the neighborhood from Hydra Lacy.
Back in Lacy's neighborhood, Sam Sneed who has lived in the area for more than 20 years, said he remembers that day well and knows Christine Lacy. He does not see her often, but said she still maintains the lot.
"This has got to be really rough on her. I mean some of the valuables she had in her home can't be replaced," said Sneed. "I feel sorry for her that she has to go through that."
A spokesperson for the City of St. Petersburg said they do not comment on pending litigation.
Action News tried reaching former Mayor Foster on his cell and at his new office. He did not return the calls Wednesday.