NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – There was a tense hour in the Briarwood, Queens neighborhood after a suspect escaped police custody Tuesday morning.

Police say the man was being transported to court when he jumped out of the van and took off while still in handcuffs.

The chase ended along Union Turnpike and 134th Street, just blocks away from the Queens county courthouse where they were supposed to drop the suspect off.

Chopper 2 was over the chaos as police cornered Johan Marte.

Officers cuffed his legs and dragged him into a waiting car.

“That’s scary. You see the cops running all over the place. At first, we didn’t know what happened. We thought somebody was hurt by our buildings or something because we saw so many cops,” said Felipe Carmona, who works nearby.

Queens warrant officers picked up the 29-year-old and were taking him to the courthouse, when police say he jumped out of the back of the van around 135th Street and 82nd Drive.

The suspect took off while still handcuffed around 8:15 a.m.

“They said somebody escaped. We never got to see him, but they were running all over the place. Checking the buildings, rooftops, garages,” Carmona said.

Carmona works at an area apartment building. He watched as police swarmed the area, asking if anyone saw the runaway suspect.

“I guess he couldn’t go that far then. How he got away? Someone is going to have a lot of explaining to do,” said Skip Tirado, who also works at the building.

Officers caught up with Marte within the hour just a few blocks away, just steps from a Salvation Army playground.

Now he’ll face even more charges. In addition to the assault charge, Marte faced robbery charges back in 2009.

CBS2 has called the District Attorney’s office to learn more about the warrant that was issued for him Tuesday.


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