October 1, 2014

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WATCH: Handcuffed Lorain inmate escapes briefly from city jail


LORAIN – A Lorain inmate still bound in handcuffs made a brief bid for freedom Thursday from the city jail.

Alexis Castillo, 31, who was being held on an armed robbery charge, was issued an additional escape charge on Thursday after he tried to run from police.

Alexis Castillo

Alexis Castillo

Around 5 p.m. Thursday, Lorain Police Officer Rich Hall was moving eight inmates by van from Lorain City Jail to the Lorain County Jail. A surveillance video of the incident shows that Castillo was at the front of the line as the inmates walked from the jail to a bus outside.

In the video, Hall held open the inner jail door for the inmates as they exited and no officers stood by the van.

While Hall was handling the door, Castillo walked around the side of the van and hid near the front. Hall proceeded to close the van doors and secured the seven inmates inside.

Police suspect another inmate, who was being released on bond around the same time frame, was waiting near the jail door, and he was watched as Castillo hid from police. He may have even acted as a lookout for him, police said.

After the van was locked up, the main doors of the sallyport – the entrance and exit area of the jail – were opened to allow the man who was freed on bond to leave. After he walked out, Castillo soon follows and takes off running, police said.

Castillo, wearing his white jail uniform and handcuffs, ran across West Erie Drive and into Veteran’s Park where he was stopped by Lorain Police Sgt. Chris Pittak and brought back to the jail.

Prior to the escape attempt, Castillo was being held on charges of aggravated robbery for an incident on July 21 at a BP Gas Station on 3059 Grove Avenue in Lorain. Castillo allegedly entered the gas station with a gun, ordered the clerk into the bathroom and left the scene with over $100.

Castillo was arrested for that incident on Oct. 8.

Lorain Police Capt. Jim McCann said police are still investigating the involvement of the released inmate and whether he was working with Castillo as a lookout.

McCann said he is reviewing policy and procedures to see if Hall made any mistakes and if he couldn’t have handled the situation differently.

Castillo’s lawyer, Mike Duff, said the incident was upsetting.

“He’s a nice kid. He made a bad mistake (in escaping) and it’s only going to cause more problems in court,” Duff said.

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaLMerriman.