‘It was a cannonball run’: Inmate attempts escape from criminal court building in downtown L.A.


L.A. County Sheriff’s Sgt. Bob Boese describes a failed inmate escape Aug. 25 at the criminal court building in downtown Los Angeles

A jail inmate triggered the temporary lockdown of a court building in downtown Los Angeles on Friday when he bolted from a group of prisoners being led off a bus into the courthouse, authorities said.

The inmate ran away about 9:15 a.m. in the bus bay area of the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center, where passengers are offloaded and led into the building, said Los Angeles County sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Rouzan.

Sgt. Robert P. Boese III, a sheriff’s spokesman, said the inmate “saw an opportunity and attempted to escape.”

The inmate ran from the bus, made it underneath one bus bay door and bolted toward another door, where the driveway meets the sidewalk, Boese said. A security officer spotted the inmate.


“The security officer basically put him in a bear hug, detained him until additional deputy personnel arrived, and once they did, they handcuffed him and took him back into the court without further incident,” Boese said.

“It was a cannonball run,” Boese said. “I don’t even think it was a minute.”

The inmate will probably face charges of attempted escape, he said.

Deputies placed the building on lockdown “out of an abundance of caution” as they performed an inmate count to determine if anyone else escaped, Boese said.


On a typical day, the courthouse has between 500 and 600 inmates, with a maximum capacity of around 800, he said. Buses come in and out of the facility all day.

The building was reopened just after 10:30 a.m.

While the courthouse was on lockdown, a line of more than a hundred people, many of them wearing juror badges, stretched down Broadway. Dozens more waited on Spring Street.

One woman, who only gave her first name, Mary, said she had been standing in line for about 40 minutes after an hour of sitting in traffic on the way from Baldwin Park for a day of jury duty. She didn’t know what was going on, and she was annoyed.


“I was worried I was going to be late, but at least it’s not my fault,” she said.

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11:45 a.m. This article was updated with more details about the escape attempt from a sheriff’s spokesman.

10:35 a.m.: This article was updated with the lifting of the lockdown.


This article was originally published at 10:20 a.m.