Prisoner Giovanni Herrin slipped out of restraints on his wrists and ankles, according to Seattle police. As he fled in the streets outside the hospital, one jail guard shot him after he allegedly tried to coerce a Lyft driver into driving him away.
The murder suspect shot by a King County jail guard Wednesday had been placed on a gurney with his wrists and ankles in restraints at Harborview Medical Center when he somehow managed to get free and run past a guard who was momentarily distracted, according to Seattle police, the agency investigating the officer-involved shooting.
Giovanni Herrin, 19, who was taken back to Harborview to treat his gunshot wound, was released from the hospital in time to attend his first court appearance Thursday afternoon on new charges stemming from his alleged escape, said a spokeswoman for King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg.
On Friday, the statement of probable cause outlining the Seattle police case against Herrin was released, providing additional details of the incident that unfolded just after 10 a.m. Wednesday.
Herrin, who was being held at the King County Jail in downtown Seattle on a charge of murdering his girlfriend last month, complained Wednesday morning that he wasn’t feeling well. He was taken to the hospital in a van.
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He was undergoing medical treatment and had been placed on a gurney in restraints, the probable cause statement says. Typically with such restraints, wrists and ankles are secured to the bed frame.
One jail officer briefly left the room, and a second jail officer was distracted for 10 to 15 seconds; when he looked back at the gurney, Herrin was gone, says the statement. Hospital staff told the second officer that Herrin had run from the building, it says.
Two EMTs were parked in their ambulance when they saw Herrin run by in his orange jail uniform, chased by the two jail guards as he ran south on Ninth Avenue and crossed Fir Street, says the statement. One of the EMTs joined the pursuit and was maybe 250 feet away when he saw Herrin – who by then had peeled off his orange jail shirt and pulled on a white T-shirt – get into the back seat of a car stopped at a red light at Yesler Way and Eighth Avenue, the statement says.
Herrin got out of the car a few seconds later and was shot by a third jail guard, according to the statement. It’s unclear from the statement where that officer came from or when he joined the pursuit.
Police later interviewed the driver of the stopped car, who turned out to be a Lyft driver, the statement says. He told officers he was driving east on Yesler Way when a man jumped in the back seat, yelled at him to drive and repeatedly slapped him in the back of the head.
The driver saw two uniformed officers running toward his car with their guns drawn and pointed at his vehicle, so he threw his body down across the front seat, says the statement. The man got out of the car, and the driver heard two gunshots.
Seattle police obtained video-surveillance footage from a nearby apartment complex that shows Herrin taking off his orange jail shirt, throwing it to the ground, and putting on a white T-shirt as he was chased by one of the guards, the statement says.
The probable cause statement identifies the King County Jail officers by last name only. Seattle police Sgt. Sean Whitcomb said Friday he could not confirm the guards’ identities.
Herrin was booked into the King County Jail on June 20, four days after he is accused of shooting his girlfriend, Karyme Barreto-Sabalza, 18, once in the head at close range after luring her into Kent’s Salt Air Vista Park, court and jail records show. Charged with first-degree murder domestic violence, Herrin is also accused of taking her purse and cellphone and driving off in her car, then using her bank card at a nearby ATM, say the charges.
In the weeks before her death, Barreto-Sabalza had told friends that she feared for her life and was worried Herrin, her boyfriend of a few months, was going to kill her, according to the charges.
Herrin was already being held on $1 million bail in connection with Barreto-Sabalza’s killing, and $10,000 bail for a 2017 case in which he is accused of leading Des Moines police on a 60-mph pursuit before crashing his mother’s car. On Thursday, a King County District Court judge set bail at $750,000 after finding probable cause to hold Herrin on investigation of escape in connection with Wednesday’s incident.