Old School Philly rapper Steady B is heard rocking the mic in the above song, Serious, a song I was a big fan of as a teenager. That song, along with another one called Goin’ Steady, were his biggest hits. He faded into obscurity in the early 90s. In 1996, he and another Philly rapper, Cool C, who was best known for a song called “The Glamorous Life“, robbed a PNC bank in Philadelphia. Cool C (real name Christopher Roney) and a friend named Mark Canty actually went inside the bank, while Steady B drove the getaway car. When police officer Lauretha Vaird responded to the robbery, she was shot and killed by Roney (who still proclaims his innocence). She was the first female officer killed in the line of duty in Philadelphia’s history. This from the NY Times article that came out after the rappers were arrested:
Mr. McGlone, who uses the name Steady B., and Mr. Roney, known as Cool C., were boyhood friends who began rapping with Fresh Prince when that television star was known as Will Smith, said Mr. McGlone’s uncle, Lawrence Goodman….The arrests came as a surprise, Mr. Nicolo said, because “these are not hard guys.”
The police said Mr. Roney and Mr. Canty accosted three bank employees at gunpoint before the branch opened on Tuesday, demanded access to the vault but left without taking anything.
Cool C is currently on death row, and was scheduled to be executed in 2006, but had his execution stayed by Rendell. This from prodeathpenalty.com: On January 6, 1996, around 8:30 in the morning, Christopher Roney and accomplice Mark Canty entered a Philadelphia bank dressed as utility construction workers and forced several employees to open the bank vault at gunpoint. Canty went into the vault with two of the women while Roney held a third at gunpoint. Canty shouted to Roney, “Here comes the heat,” and Roney replied, “Don’t worry; I’ll take care of them.” At this time, Police Officer Lauretha Vaird, who was the first officer to respond to the silent alarm, approached the front door of the bank building. As she entered the bank, Roney fatally shot Lauretha in the abdomen and then ran past her through the front door. Meanwhile Canty fled from the bank through a side entrance, leaving his gun behind. Outside the bank, Roney exchanged gunfire with the second officer to arrive on the scene. Escaping the shootout, Roney jumped into a getaway vehicle, a green minivan driven by another accomplice, Warren McGlone, and the vehicle sped away. Later that morning the three men met at McGlone’s home to discuss the robbery. In the meantime, police found the abandoned getaway vehicle and various pieces of the robbers’ disguises. They also recovered two weapons lying on the ground outside the bank. One weapon was traced to a relative of Canty, who had discovered the weapon had been stolen. It had last been seen in Canty’s possession. The other gun was traced to a friend of McGlone, who had purchased the weapon for McGlone. After being taken in for questioning, Canty and McGlone confessed to participating in the robbery. Roney was sentenced to death and the two accomplices received life sentences. Lauretha was 43 years old and had served for 9 years. She was a single parent raising two sons.
Another Philly rapper later lent his two cents to the story, as G. Love recorded a touching tribute to Vaird called “Slipped Away”. A story on Action News a couple of months ago talked about her legacy, and interviewed one of her sons. You can see it here.