Police: Convicted Killer Swaps Clothes With Friend, Escapes Queens Psychiatric Facility
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The NYPD is asking for the public’s help in finding a convicted killer who escaped from a Queens psychiatric facility.
Raymond Morillo, 33, escaped from the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Queens Village around 11:25 a.m. Tuesday by switching clothing with a friend who was visiting him, police said.
After swapping clothes, Morillo and his friend managed to walk out of the hospital undetected, police said.
“It’s frightening, let’s put it that way,” State Sen. Tony Avella told CBS 2’s Steve Langford. “I want a full investigation about what happened here and how we can improve security.”
Morillo is described as Hispanic, 5-foot-11, weighing 215 pounds. He has a tear drop tattoo below his left eye and was last seen wearing a black baseball cap, white sweater and tan pants.
Security was apparently beefed up following the incident, Langford reported. A CBS 2 crew was immediately ordered to turn around after arriving at the psychiatric facility.
“If it’s happening this time, has it happened before? Can it happen again? Hopefully this’ll set off an alarm and stop,” community leader Mike Castellano told Langford.
The New York State Office of Mental Health told CBS 2 “escaped patients are a very rare occurrence within OMH’s secure psychiatric centers.”
The statement went on to say a thorough investigation is standard procedure, and “when appropriate, to require policy changes to prevent reoccurrence.”
Morillo served 15 years in prison for manslaughter and assault for shooting a man at the corner of 102nd Street and 37th Avenue in Queens in May 1998. He’s been confined to Creedmoor since completing his sentence.
Those who live near the psychiatric facility said they’re on edge.
“It’s a dangerous situation, I hope they catch the person,” one local resident told Langford.
“If the man needs treatment, that’s fine but if they don’t provide the right protection for the people in the community, I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Hollis Hills resident Jo Goldstein added.
“This is a residential area here and it’s a highly wooded area. These guys could hide out around here at any time. There’s kids around here, lots of schools,” said Bayside resident Gerald Galarza.
Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS.
The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or by texting their tips to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577.
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