San Jose police chief tackles slaying suspect trying to escape jail

Internal investigation to be launched into security measures at the holding facility

The chief of the San Jose Police Department tackled and detained a slaying suspect who broke out of his holding cell and scaled a fence in an attempt to escape.

Hector Flores Arias, 26, of San Jose was taken into custody Sunday in Mexico, where authorities said he'd been hiding since 2009 after allegedly gunning down a man. Federal agents escorted him to the U.S., and he was transferred to a San Jose holding cell.

On Monday morning, Chief Larry Esquivel was returning to headquarters when he saw Arias – still handcuffed – sprinting from the holding area toward an electric gate, police Sgt. Enrique Garcia said. Esquivel stepped from his car and ordered Arias to stop.

But Arias continued running, and Esquivel tackled him.

After they fell to the ground, Arias jumped to his feet and continued running. Esquivel, a former SWAT member, chased Arias and tackled him again, successfully detaining him.

“He did what he knows how to do best,” Garcia said of Esquivel.

Police believe Arias somehow moved his handcuffed hands from behind his back to the front of his body while he was inside his holding cell, Garcia said.

Arias then broke the cell door mechanical system, entered a fenced quad area, scaled a fence, ran down a ramp and into the police parking lot before he was stopped by the chief, he said.

The department plans to launch an internal investigation into security measures in place at the holding facility, Garcia said. The department is also requesting an audit of the facility.

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