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UPDATE: Northern California homicide suspect who fled a hospital is captured a day after his escape

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Posted at 12:20 PM, Jul 10, 2023

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A Northern California homicide suspect who fled a hospital while in custody and under guard was recaptured Monday afternoon, more than 24 hours after he escaped, authorities said.

The Placer County Sheriff's Office said on Facebook that Eric Abril was caught around 12:20 p.m., hiding in a residential neighborhood a few miles from the hospital.

“Abril was still wearing belly chains and in jail boxers when he was taken into custody,” the post said. Sheriff's officials said they would provide more details at an afternoon news conference.

Abril, 35, escaped custody around 3 a.m. Sunday from the Sutter Roseville Medical Center, the sheriff's office said.

He was first arrested in April after authorities said he shot a California Highway Patrol officer and two hostages, killing one, in a park in Roseville, about 16 miles (26 kilometers) northeast of Sacramento.

Abril was held without bail after being charged with murder, aggravated kidnapping and attempted murder of a peace officer in connection with the shooting.

Abril’s lawyer, Matthew Bockmon, expressed relief Monday after learning of his client’s recapture.

“I’m glad he’s safe,” Bockmon told the Sacramento Bee. “And I hope nobody else is hurt.”

Authorities said Abril was taken to the hospital last Thursday, but they have not said why.

Law enforcement is investigating how Abril escaped. He was supposed to be under 24-hour surveillance at the hospital, but he managed to get away from a deputy by running down a flight of stairs and out the doors.

The sheriff's office said the deputy guarding Abril was awake when the suspect escaped. The preliminary investigation determined that Abril “was able to defeat his restraints.”

“We have begun conducting a thorough review of all corrections policies and procedures regarding inmate transportation and inmate supervision and security,” the Placer Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

More than 70 police from roughly a dozen law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and U.S. Marshals Service, searched the area throughout the day using helicopters, drones, police dogs and armored vehicles to sweep through neighborhoods in the quiet suburbs. Police had investigated 64 leads since Sunday, authorities said.

Police had asked residents in the area to “exercise extreme caution” and call 911 if they saw Abril.

The shooting he's accused of happened in a park where families played at nearby baseball fields and children attended camp. Highway patrol officers were attempting to serve Abril a warrant when he allegedly opened fire, wounding one officer.

When Roseville police arrived, Abril was seen carrying a gun and fleeing. Authorities say he then grabbed two civilians and held them hostage, shooting both and killing one. ___ This story has been updated to correct the name of the law enforcement agency to the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, not Department.