Former super middleweight titlist Jeff Lacy, mourning the death of older brother Hydra Lacy Jr., broke his silence Wednesday, two days after his brother died in a deadly shootout that also killed two St. Petersburg, Fla., police officers and wounded a U.S. marshal.
"I know this is an emotional time for everyone," Lacy said in a statement. "I want to send my deepest sympathy to the families and loved ones of Sgt. Tom Baitinger and Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz. I am truly sorry for your loss and cannot imagine the anger and pain you are feeling."
Police had been hunting for Hydra Lacy, 39, since November after he failed to appear for a trial on a 2009 domestic violence charge. He had a lengthy rap sheet dating to 1988. He had served several years in and out of prison, including for kidnapping and sexually assaulting his then-17-year-old girlfriend, according to the Tampa Tribune.
When police went to the home of his wife, Christine Lacy, to speak to her they did not expect to find Hydra Lacy there. However, he was hiding in the attic before he began firing at police, according to police accounts. That set off a shootout, during which Hydra Lacy and the officers died.
"Unfortunately I was not in touch with my brother," Jeff Lacy said. "I'm not sure if it could have been prevented, but I have always believed that almost any horrible tragedy can be prevented. My first reaction is probably like many others, that this should not have happened, but again, I am not in any position to comment on such a devastating loss.
"What's important now is that I recognize that children have lost their fathers, wives have lost their husbands, mothers and fathers have lost their sons, and those that serve our community and protect us have lost partners and brothers. I think that is what is bothering me most, knowing that my brother created this suffering and trying to understand why he acted this way has left me at one of the saddest moments of my life."
Police estimated 150 to 200 rounds were exchanged during the shootout.
"Losing our oldest brother is very hard to handle as anyone would expect," Lacy said. "However, losing a family member, friend or loved one under these circumstances has made me really think a lot about my family and the families of the officers. Not being back home does not make this any easier because I know that a community that I care for and people I know and who know me are hurting. I'm hopeful we all find that place again as a community, where we can look in the mirror and see ourselves smiling again."
Lacy, 33, is a lifelong St. Petersburg resident and was out of town when the incident happened. His boxing career has been in decline for the past several years. He was a 2000 U.S. Olympian and won a 168-pound world title in 2004. He made four defenses before suffering a terrible beating in a lopsided decision loss to Joe Calzaghe in a 2006 unification fight.
Lacy (25-4, 17 KOs) was never the same after that fight. He struggled to win his next three fights while also dealing with a severe shoulder injury. After the brief winning streak, Lacy lost three of his next four fights, including a knockout loss to the faded Roy Jones Jr. in August 2009 followed by a stunning decision loss to journeyman Dhafir Smith on Dec. 11.
Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter.