Wayne Co., Michigan Deputy Stabbed in Prisoner Escape

Police Search near Belle Isle After Prisoner Stabs Wayne Co. Sheriff’s Deputy in Escape

From The Detroit News by George Hunter, Tom Greenwood and Serena Maria Daniels, September 9, 2013

A prisoner linked to a notorious carjacking crew has escaped the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice after stabbing a sheriff’s deputy Monday morning with a plastic shank, prompting a several-hour evacuation of the building as authorities continue to search the city’s east side near Belle Isle.

The suspect was seen leaving the property with a sheriff’s uniform before 8:30 a.m. Monday, moments before carjacking a woman at gunpoint. Police Chief James Craig later identified the suspect as 25-year-old Abraham Pearson (also known as Derreck White), who is 5-foot-6 and 155 pounds and had been in custody on carjacking charges.

Abraham Pearson

Abraham Pearson (Wayne County Sheriff’s Office)

Craig added Pearson is a member of the “Hot Boyz” carjacking gang and has a matching “Hot Boyz” tattoo.

“We have good leads,” Craig said at a 10:30 press conference at Helen and East Jefferson near the entrance to Belle Isle, where police nearby were searching the area with canines.

The Wayne County Sheriff's deputies look for an escaped prisoner in Detroit on Monday.

The Deputy, Harrison Tolliver, has been transported to Detroit Receiving. Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon said Tolliver suffered puncture wounds to the neck after being stabbed several times by a comb that was turned into a shank by the prisoner. He said the deputy sustained nonlife-threatening injuries in the attack on the seventh floor of the building near a holding cell, where three inmates had been transferred from the Wayne County Jail.

“Once they arrive at the holding cell, the cuffs are removed and they are placed in the cell. Deputy Tolliver had removed the cuffs off two of the prisoners who went into the cell,” Napoleon said. “When he removed Pearson’s handcuffs is when he was attacked.”

Afterward, Pearson stole his uniform and made his escape.

“We are in the process of tracking this prisoner now,” Napoleon said. “(The suspect) just overpowered the deputy. He had a plastic comb that he fashioned into a weapon.”

Napoleon said he would prefer to have more than one deputy on duty to handle multiple prisoners but the department budget doesn’t allow it.

“We don’t have the money,” he said.

According to Wayne County Jail system records, Pearson was booked at 4:49 p.m. on Friday by the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department on charges of carjacking, armed robbery, felony firearm, possession of a firearm by a felon, carrying a concealed weapon, unlawful driving away and possession of a financial transaction device. He was jailed on a $250,000 bond for each count.

Napoleon said Tolliver is a retired Detroit Police Department officer who later joined the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department.

Police cruisers swarmed Frank Murphy and authorities cordoned off the surrounding area near the building on St. Antoine around 8:30 a.m. A dozen Wayne County Sheriffs Deputies gathered outside the building while Detroit police officers stood in the street. Patrol cars with lights and sirens peeled out from the building just before 9 a.m. Court employees were allowed to return to Frank Murphy around 10:30 a.m.

Fayyaz Uddin, a park lot attendant at Macomb and Beaubien, saw the early morning events unfold as the suspect escaped the scene.

“He looked like a bum,” Uddin said. “He had on a dirty white T-shirt and sheriff’s pants and was holding a sheriff’s shirt in his hands. I thought this doesn’t look like a sheriff.”

Uddin said a few moments later, he heard a woman scream “Help me! Help me!”

Uddin said he saw the man, a skinny black male with braided hair, drive off in a silver Dodge minivan. Police said the minivan was recovered nearby at Concord and Lafayette.

Detroit resident Jessica Skupien and Dearborn Heights resident Norman Haider were inside the building receiving jury instructions when they were told to leave the building.

“We were sitting in the jury area and they told us to leave the building,” Skupien said. “That was about 8:30 or so.”

“They never said why,” added Haider, who was standing just outside the offices of the Wayne County Sheriffs Office, just across the street from Frank Murphy.

The escape has people throughout the surrounding downtown area on edge Monday.

The principal at Most Holy Trinity school in Corktown sent out a text message to parents Monday morning, alerting them that the preschool-8th grade campus was on lockdown.

“We’re just hanging out, teachers doors are all locked… teachers closed the drapes,” said Principal Sheila Dunleavy.

Dunleavy added that the school is equipped with eight surveillance cameras and bullet-proof doors. The children had not been informed of the nature of the lockdown, Dunleavy said. Depending on how the situation turns out, school officials will determine whether to talk to students about the escaped inmate.

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