Authorities in central California were searching Sunday for six inmates who used a “homemade rope” to escape from a county jail, sheriff’s officials said. All six escapees should be considered armed and dangerous, the Merced County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.
Staff at Merced County Downtown Jail noticed late Saturday that the six inmates were missing, the release said.
“A preliminary investigation has determined that the inmates were able to gain access to the roof of the facility and utilize a homemade rope to scale down the side of the jail,” the sheriff’s office said.
Anyone who spots the fugitives is asked not to approach them and immediately call 911.
All but one of the suspects are charged with violent felonies, including murder.
They were identified as Jorge Barron, 20, of Atwater, California; Gabriel Francis Coronado, 19, of Atwater; Manuel Allen Leon, 21, of Vallejo, California; Andres Nunez Rodriguez Jr., 21 of Planada, California; Fabian Cruz Roman, 22 of Los Banos, California; and Edgar Eduardo Ventura, 22 of Portland, Oregon.
Roman is facing a murder charge. Coronado and Rodriguez Jr. face charges including attempted murder, shooting at an inhabited dwelling, participation in a criminal street gang and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Ventura is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, participation in a criminal street gang and violation of probation.
Leon is charged with assault with a firearm, shooting at an inhabited dwelling, reckless driving to evade an officer, being a felon in possession of a firearm and violation of probation.
Barron faces a probation violation charge.
CBS San Francisco reports the Merced County Sheriff’s Office warned citizens who might come across the inmates not to engage with the escaped criminals.
“You should never approach them unless you’re law enforcement. We’ve given a critical reach BOL — Be On the Lookout — to all of our law enforcement communities so that they can do it. If you’re not trained law enforcement, do not approach them,” said Sheriff Vernon Warnke. “Do not take this into your own hands. Just give us a call and we will take it on at that point. No sense in anybody getting hurt.”
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