MIAMI (CBS4) – A suspect with a lengthy history of arrests is back in Miami-Dade Police custody after a five-hour search. He was found sitting quietly underneath a tree just blocks away from where he escaped from a police car.
“For us, it’s a relief to have him back in custody,” said Miami-Dade Police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta. “He was a danger to our community. Anyone who commits a robbery the way he did is a violent person and is a danger to the community.”
Zabaleta said this incident all started around 6:30 in the morning when 26-year-old John Paul Garrido was being transported from the Miami-Dade Police Kendall substation to the Dade County jail.
Garrido had been arrested for criminal mischief and Zabaleta said he was on probation for strong arm robbery.
A check of records showed Garrido had been arrested before for battery, aggravated stalking, possession of marijuana, selling cocaine and domestic violence.
Zabaleta told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that when the female officer’s car was stopped at a redlight just blocks from the jail at Northwest 12th Street and 14th Avenue; Garrido somehow got out of his flex-cuffs and escaped from the back of the police car that is normally locked.
Garrido was seen fleeing westbound on Northwest 12th street dressed in black. Police immediately put out a bulletin that said they were loooked for the 5’6″, 140-pound man who had trimmed his beard since his latest mugshot had been taken.
Dozens of officers and detectives scoured the area and were assisted by Miami Police. As CBS4 discovered, they even stopped at Garrido’s home nearby and sent detectives to the home of Garrido’s mother.
His mother told Police she was very upset and when CBS4 tried to ask her about her son, she told him, “I don’t know.”
Miami-Dade Police even set up a command post near the Metro Justice Center.
Zabaleta said at around 2:30 in the afternoon, police received a tip that Garrido had been spotted just three blocks north of the command center at Northwest 14th Avenue and 16th Terrace.
He was sitting underneath a tree.
“Once we questioned him, we determined that he was the individual that we were looking for,” said Zabaleta.
Garrido was taken away to the Miami-Dade Police Northside District station for questioning and will be taken to the Dade County jail. Zabaleta said he faces a number of additional charges tied to the escape.
The big question is how he escaped.
“It’s too early to tell right now,” said Zabaleta. “That’s why we are questioning him, to find out how this happened, how he got out of the cuffs and the car and if anyone was helping him.”
“This was an individual who was brazen and we considered him to be very dangerous,” said Zabaleta.
It’s expected that Garrido will face a judge in bond court in the morning.