FORT LEE, N.J. (1010 WINS/ CBS 2/ AP) – A manhunt for a prisoner continued into Thursday morning in northern New Jersey, hours after he made a daring dash from law enforcement that defied the odds.
U.S. Marshals, armed federal, state and local law enforcement officers were involved in the search, which was focused on Fort Lee and Ridgefield, 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reported.
Jose Rodriguez of the Bronx was wanted in connection with a non-fatal shooting Nov. 1, police said. He was spotted at the Holiday Inn in Fort Lee at around 1:15 p.m. Wednesday and was arrested. A 9mm revolver was in his possession, police said.
The NYPD said he was in the back seat of an unmarked car, unattended. Police said while officers were discovering the loaded handgun in Rodriguez’s car, their suspect, who was handcuffed from behind, somehow moved from the police car’s back seat to the front seat and then drove away, steering with his knees.
“The suspect managed to elude police, steal a car,” Ridgefield Police Capt. Richard Besser told CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey.
The car was dumped in Ridgefield, with the cuffs and shackles found inside, sparking a massive search. With schools on lockdown, armed officers searched homes and were even examining cars leaving a parking garage after being told of a barefoot man who was offering $3,000 for a ride.
Rodriguez, 27, is described as Hispanic, 5-foot-8 and weighs approximately 180 pounds. He was wearing a blue T-shirt with grey sweatpants and white sneakers. SWAT teams and canine units swarmed the area and went door-to-door in Ridgefield.
On Wednesday night, officers were back at the hotel where Rodriguez made his escape, no doubt wondering where he’s hiding out.
“It’s frightening. That’s why we’re all here with our doors locked. I’m hoping that they’ll catch him soon,” resident Marilyn Ruiz said.
Anyone with information in regard to Rodriguez is asked to call the New York City Police Department’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS. You can also submit tips by logging onto the Crime stoppers Website at www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or texting their tips to 274637 (crimes) then enter TIP577.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)
In Other News…