A prisoner being treated at Kings County Hospital in New York made a break for freedom by grabbing a corrections officer's gun and trying to use a 7-year-old boy as a shield. In the ensuing gun battle, the prisoner shot and wounded another officer before being killed himself.
Physicians, nurses and patients dived for cover during the shootout last week, and the boy managed to wriggle away from the prisoner, Carlos Garcia, according to Deputy Corrections Commissioner Tom Kelly.
Mr. Garcia, 28, of Queens, had been arrested four days previously after another shootout that involved an off-duty corrections officer, police said. In that incident, Mr. Garcia was wounded in the arm and an accomplice was killed.
Mr. Garcia made his escape attempt June 21 while being escorted from the Queens House of Detention to the Brooklyn hospital by corrections officers Melvin Lester, 33, and Edna Grajales, 41.
Mr. Garcia was to have a cast removed from his arm. His handcuffs had been removed, but he was still wearing leg shackles, police said.
Mr. Kelly said that about 1 p.m. Mr. Garcia "suddenly grabbed the gun belonging to the female corrections officer and began to fire, hitting the male officer."
As Mr. Lester fell and the gunman tried to flee, Ms. Grajales seized Mr. Lester's revolver and chased after the prisoner.
"Another patient pointed him out. He turned and fired several times. She returned fire," hitting him twice, Mr. Kelly said.
Mr. Lester, a five-year veteran, was in critical but stable condition after surgeons removed his spleen and a kidney.
The wild chase caused "all types of pandemonium" as dozens of patients scrambled to get out of the way, Mr. Kelly said.
As he fled, the prisoner grabbed 7-year-old Nicholas Rowe of Brooklyn, Mr. Kelly added.
"It appeared that he was attempting to grab the youth to use as a shield, but the kid was smart and squirmed away from his grasp," he said.
In the wake of the shootout, the corrections officers' union demanded that the city drop a budget proposal to cut officers escorting prisoners to hospitals from two to one.