ELLENVILLE, N.Y. (CBS 2/AP) — Police said he was caught before he killed again. A murder suspect was back in custody Wednesday night.
The man triggered a massive manhunt and set a community on edge. Police said they captured him as he planned to strike another victim.
The manhunt that began in Ulster County before dawn ended before sunset.
The former fugitive could be seen in the back of a heavily guarded ambulance, leaving police headquarters in a town that was in virtual lock-down all day.
“I couldn’t even let my son outside to play tonight because he could’ve been running around in our yard for all we knew,” resident Angela Lane told CBS 2’s Lou Young.
Richard Giga, 24, had been on the lam since breaking out of a drug and alcohol rehab center, leaving behind a dead guard and a badly wounded nurse. According to police, Giga forced her to drive him from the scene, but she crashed a mile down the road.
Police flooded the area with armed searchers and found Giga in an unoccupied house making phone calls and took him in early Wednesday evening after a two-hour stand-off.
“Just the high-profile presence that we had here is what kept him in that area there,” Ulster County Sheriff Paul van Blarcum said.
A police source said Giga wanted to kill a former girlfriend and had consumed bottles of alcohol-based hand sanitizer before going berserk. They even closed schools in the town Wednesday during the manhunt.
“They show us a picture of some guy who broke out of rehab and killed someone and I’m like, alright, that’s common for somewhere like Newburgh or something but in a small town like this it was really scary,” resident Gavin Romance said.
Police continued to restrict access to the scene where the stand-off took place. The suspect was being evaluated at Kingston Hospital and could possibly be arraigned as early as Thursday.
The sheriff said Giga killed 60-year-old Leland Wood at the Renaissance Project inpatient center in Ellenville after getting into an altercation with him around 3:30 a.m.
“Too much violence out there, too much violence,” resident Dom Pellicci, who was mourning the death of his neighbor, Lee Wood, told CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.
Van Blarcum said Giga forced a female worker to drive him away from the scene.
“She’s driving. He starts stabbing her, causes the accident, car rolls over and he flees on foot,” Van Blarcum said.
The unidentified woman was flown to St. Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie, where she was expected to recover from her wounds.
It wasn’t immediately clear if Giga had a lawyer.
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