P-1 Editor's Note -- Remember, most escape attempts occur near the end of the prisoner escort/transportation. Brush up on prisoner escort best practice to avoid courthouse security breaches like this one in Cape Cod, Tuesday.
By Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff
A prisoner was shot in the chest outside Barnstable Superior Court this morning, authorities said.
The shooting at about 8:30 a.m. was in the street in front of the courthouse, according to Barnstable Fire Chief Robert Crosby. The man, whose name was not released, was flown by helicopter to a Boston hospital.
Fire officials were called to assist police, Crosby said.
A spokesman for the Barnstable County Sheriff's Office said the man was being taken from a local police department to court. The man was not in the custody of the sheriff’s office, said David Neal, the assistant deputy superintendent for community relations.
Barnstable police did not immediately return several phone messages seeking comment.
The Cape Cod Times reported on its website that the prisoner had escaped from custody, stolen a green Honda Accord from the parking lot of the nearby Barnstable General Store, and was trying to flea. Police at the scene asked one of the newspaper's delivery drivers, Richard Ruggiero, to block the exit to the parking lot with a company van.
The fleeing prisoner crashed into the driver's side of the van, according to the website. The prisoner then backed up the Honda and drove around the van and across Route 6A, hitting a wall in front of the courthouse.
Megan Burke, 24, was working at the Barnstable General Store when she said there was a commotion outside.
"We heard what we thought was a loud crash," said Burke in a telephone interview. "We ran out the door and saw this green car crash into the wall outside court."
About 15 Barnstable police officers and court officers were running after the car, Burke said. The officers were yelling, "'Get out of the car' with their guns drawn," Burke said. The man was bloody and had already been shot, Burke said.
One of the police officers used a baton to break one of the windows of the car, Burke said. A court officer got in the car next to the prisoner and waited for an ambulance to arrive. Paramedics pulled the man out of the car and put him on a stretcher, Burke said.
Copyright 2007 Boston Globe
Prisoner shot outside Mass. courthouse