Cameron Co. Reviewing Protocols at Jail Following Inmate Esc

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BROWNSVILLE – The escape and death of a Cameron County inmate is prompting leaders to take a closer look at protocols and safety measures at local jails.

Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio said the escaped inmate, Michael Diaz Garcia, had been behind bars at the Carrizales-Rucker Detention Center since February 2016.

He was charged with one count of burglary of a habitation and three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS obtained court records that show Diaz threatened three different people with a handgun on Feb. 14, 2016.

A grand jury indicted him on those charges on May 2016. He was scheduled for sentencing later this month.

Lucio said Diaz didn't show violent behavior while he was behind bars.

"All (the jailers) say is that he was a nice guy, very courteous and what have you," he said. "So, what can I tell you? People behave one way, then act another."

Lucio said he believes Diaz was using his time to plan his escape.

He said Diaz stabbed a jailer in the neck and ran off while being transported to a dentist visit on Thursday.

He then made it to a home on Fruitdale Drive, where he shot and killed a man, according to Lucio. Authorities identified the victim as 56-year-old Mario Martinez.

Diaz then led authorities on a chase, which ended in a shootout in San Benito. He was struck twice and died at a hospital.

"Many times, these people have 24 hours in the jail, for several days, and they try to think of every single thing they can think of to try and go ahead and escape," Lucio said.

It's still unknown how Diaz snuck out a shank made out of a toothbrush and a razor blade. 

Lucio told CHANNEL 5 NEWS inmates are patted down before they leave the jail. They also must be shackled by the wrists and ankles with a chain that goes around their waist.

Lucio said it may be time for a metal detector.

"Yeah, we probably do (need one)," he said. "It would be nice to have something like that, but sometimes you pick it up, sometimes you don't."

One policy that the sheriff implemented, effective immediately, is that jailers will have to be accompanied by a sheriff deputy when transporting inmates to their appointments.

"We'll have to have a transporting officer and a deputy sheriff transport these people to the doctor's office, or to the hospital - wherever it is. And if we have to pay overtime, well we have to pay overtime. That’s all there is to it,” he said.

Lucio implemented the policy Thursday following Diaz's escape.


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