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- DOYLE MURPHY
- Blake Strode of ArchCity Defenders. The nonprofit law firm is representing Marlene Gebhard in her quest for truth.
In the aftermath of the July 9 shooting, the Boyd and Gebhard families studied the Facebook exchange between Tyler and Josh Boyd from two days prior and drew very different conclusions about what it meant.
Tyler's family would later interpret his "keep his head down" advice as well-wishing, the same as telling someone to drive safely.
A cousin, Leslie Hanlon, had spoken to Tyler twice on July 8 — before and after the weekend's first visit to the Lakeshire house. She had noticed a string of his Facebook posts about the recent shootings. Some were angry, others called for unity. They have at least ten active and former police officers in their family, and the posts included a picture of a candle for fallen officers.
"He was very empathetic toward both sides of the situation," she says.
Hanlon says she just wanted to tell him his family cared about him.
"The reason I reached out to him is because I know he has a very tender heart and is very caring, just a passionate person," she says. "I could just tell by what he was posting on social media that he seemed upset, and I just wanted to call him and tell him, 'Hey, we love you. We support you.'"
But where the Gebhard family saw a young man grappling with fear and compassion, the Boyds saw menace. The idea that Josh Lasley should be careful and "needs to keep his head down" was cited by family members as a possible threat when they later spoke to police.
There were other warning signs, too, they claimed. Two random people reportedly contacted them on their church Facebook page the next morning, posting screenshots attributed to Tyler with statements about killing white people and police.
In fact, the Boyds summoned Lakeshire and St. Louis County police to their house at about 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 9. Officers took a report about possible threats. Based on what appeared to be Tyler's postings online, the cops also contacted Webster Groves police. They deployed an officer to the church the Boyds were renting for services that evening, just in case Tyler showed up.
That evening, shortly before 5:30 p.m., he did show up. But he didn't come to church. He returned to their home.
Tyler had spent the day with a friend he knew from Affton and another young man. The friend, 21-year-old Neiko Warren, was wanted for a burglary. He later told police they had pawned some of Tyler's stuff and used the money to buy marijuana they planned to sell. Warren claimed Tyler had seemed paranoid lately, shouting at people at the mall and saying he was a god.
That afternoon, Tyler told Warren he planned to go to church with the Boyd family, so they drove over to Lakeshire. Warren dropped him off and then drove away in Tyler's car, planning to pick him up in a couple of hours, he said.
But this time, something went terribly wrong.
As with Tyler's visit the day before, Julie Boyd, her daughter Jordan and Jordan's two young children were home — only Jordan's husband, Josh Lasley, was there too.
- IMAGE VIA DESLOGE POLICE DEPARTMENT
- Josh Lasley was a police officer in Desloge before joining the St. Louis County Police Department.
Tyler began ringing the doorbell. Josh Lasley says he was using the basement bathroom after finishing up work at his side job when his wife, Jordan, called out to him from the basement stairs.
"She was pretty hysterical, saying, 'He's here! He's here! He's trying to bust in through the front door,'" he said in a recorded interview with law enforcement. "I asked her who, she said, 'Tyler, Tyler Gebhard.'"
Lasley said he bolted up the stairs while his wife locked herself in a front bedroom with their two kids and her mother. Jordan dialed 911.
Tyler had left the front of the house by the time the off-duty cop reached the door, Lasley said. But when he looked out the back of the house, he could see the younger man's shadow.
Lasley slipped out the front, ran to his truck and grabbed a gun — his personal .40-caliber Glock pistol — and then ducked back inside. He still couldn't see Tyler, so he went to check on the rest of the family hiding out in the bedroom, he said.
"As I was telling them to call 911, I heard a loud bang coming through the window," he said.
Lasley claimed he returned to the kitchen to find a hunk of concrete lying in a pile of glass. Tyler, having apparently thrown the heavy block through the floor-length window, was climbing into the house, he said.
At this point, the interaction reached a neighbor's ears. She later told police they could hear Lasley shouting, "Get the fuck down! Get the fuck on the ground!"
A Lakeshire police officer, responding at 5:25 p.m. to the 911 call for a burglary, arrived at about the same time. He edged around to the back of the house, where he saw broken glass on the deck next to the window. Seconds later, he heard three gunshots from inside the house.
But no one knew who'd been shot. Inside the bedroom, Jordan Lasley and Julie Boyd panicked. They pushed out a window screen and began crawling outside.
"I heard a gunshot, and I didn't know who shot the gun," Julie Boyd would later tell a detective. "I didn't know who was going to be coming through the door next." When St. Louis County police officers arrived, they found the 54-year-old grandmother dangling half out of the bedroom window in a desperate attempt to flee with her daughter and grandkids.
In the meantime, the Lakeshire cop, still in the rear of the house, crept toward the broken back window. "Police! Come out," he cried.
The man who peered out was Lasley — and the officer recognized him as a county cop.
The rear entrance was littered with broken glass, so they agreed to meet at the front door. There, they were joined by the first St. Louis County police officers on scene. Lasley led his fellow officers through a hallway into the kitchen, according to the police report. His gun was on the kitchen table. Sprawled out on the hardwood floor next to a center island was Tyler.
The officers began calling dispatch for an ambulance. Two of them slid the twenty-year-old's arms out from under his body and cuffed his wrists behind his back while the Lakeshire cop radioed for an ambulance. Tyler was bleeding out.
One officer led Lasley outside, while the others pressed towels against Tyler's chest. They were having a hard time finding the bullet holes. Too much blood was soaking through his white Under Armour shirt. Tyler was gasping when they decided to uncuff him, roll him onto his back and begin CPR.
An Affton Fire Protection District ambulance arrived at 5:36 p.m. Tyler did not have a pulse when they loaded him onto a stretcher at 5:47 p.m. and took off for St. Anthony's Medical Center, according to the medical records. He had been hit three times: twice in the chest and a graze wound to the neck.
The ambulance arrived at the hospital at 5:55 p.m., and it was already too late. Three minutes later, a doctor confirmed Tyler was dead.