UPDATE Maurice Ainsworth IN CUSTODY
A manhunt is under way in Santa Cruz County this afternoon for an armed inmate who escaped custody at Dominican Hospital, Santa Cruz police said in a community alert. The inmate, Maurice Ainsworth, a 24-year-old black man who is 6 feet 6 inches tall and weighs 260 pounds, was last seen running west from the hospital toward Santa Cruz city limits, police said.He is wearing a yellow jail jumpsuit and is considered dangerous. While being transported from Santa Cruz County Jail to the hospital for treatment at about 11:30 a.m., Ainsworth allegedly overpowered a sheriff’s deputy, shot the deputy with a Taser and then grabbed the deputy’s handgun, Santa Cruz County sheriff’s Sgt. Dan Campos said.Ainsworth then “fired a round at a bystander and fled into the neighboring area,” Campos said.Campos said the suspect has entered a home and that nearby residents are being evacuated. The Santa Cruz Police Department issued a second community alert at about 1:30 p.m. warning residents to stay away from the 100 block of English Drive.Harbor High School and DeLaveaga Elementary School have been put into lockdown as a precaution.Kelly Paulsen, an administrative assistant at the high school, said the lockdown began at about 12:15 p.m. and that school officials are waiting for word from authorities on what to do next.Teri Carpenter, a resident of Fairland Way, near English Drive, said her husband went for a bike ride earlier today and wasn’t able to get home because of all the police activity.She said she had received an automated message from police saying that they were searching for someone. The message warned residents to shut doors and windows and stay inside.”I just hear the helicopters right now,” she said shortly before 2 p.m.Some nearby businesses had been informed of the incident.A woman who answered the phone at Erik’s Delicafe on Soquel Drive said the sheriff’s office had called the business to alert employees. She said there were no orders for a mandatory lockdown and the shop was still open. Neighboring law enforcement agencies are responding, including sheriff’s SWAT team and a California Highway Patrol helicopter.Please call the Fugitive Watch hot line at 1-800-9-CAUGHT (1-800-922-8448) or text us at 408-355-0999 or CLICK HERE to send a confidential email tip, if you know the name of this suspect or have any information that can help solve this crime.
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Stephan J. Dougan, Personal Injury Attorney
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