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Armed Santa Cruz Inmate Captured After Escape

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Santa Cruz Manhunt

SANTA CRUZ (CBS 5 / AP / BCN) ― A Santa Cruz County jail inmate who escaped custody by using a stun gun on a sheriff’s deputy, taking her handgun and then shooting at a woman, was recaptured late Monday afternoon following a standoff, authorities said.

The sheriff’s office and police indicated that 24-year-old Maurice Ainsworth was taken into custody by a SWAT team about 4:30 p.m., after spending a few hours holed-up in an unoccupied home in the 1000 block of English Drive in Santa Cruz.

Ainsworth was being shackled for transport by a female sheriff’s deputy after undergoing an MRI at Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz, when he overpowered the deputy and escaped wearing his yellow jail jumpsuit around 11:30 a.m.

Authorities said the deputy was putting shackles on his feet when he punched her, took her .40-caliber handgun and Tased her with her own stun gun.

Ainsworth then “fired a round at a (female) bystander and fled into the neighboring area,” sheriff’s Sgt. Dan Campos said. The woman was not hit.

Deputies ordered lockdowns at the hospital and nearby Harbor Highand High and DeLaveaga Elementary schools, as well as Secret Garden Too preschool, as they scoured the neighborhood looking for the armed Ainsworth — described as 6-feet 7-inches tall and 275 pounds.

After Ainsworth was observed entering the home on English Drive, a street that runs along a ravine, deputies evacuated nearby residents around 1:30 p.m.

A sheriff’s SWAT team then surrounded the home as two California Highway Patrol helicopters flew overhead.

Alan Erece, who lives in the same block as the standoff home, described the scene as “kind of surreal.”

“It was like the movies, you know?” he said, noting that police “were huddled up along the streeet with their automatic rifles out.”

Ainsworth was alone in the home during the standoff and did not hold any residents hostage, according to deputies.

Erece said he had watched the neighbors who lived in the standoff home come running down the street and proclaim that “there was a criminal in their house with a gun.”

No injuries were reported in the standoff and Ainsworth was eventually taken into custody without incident, said Santa Cruz Interim Police Chief Kevin Vogel.

Ainsworth has an extensive criminal history, according to the Santa Cruz Sentinel newspaper, including prior convictions for vandalism, arson and weapons theft.

Assistant District Attorney Steve Drottar said Ainsworth was awaiting trial in January for a kidnapping and home invasion robbery, which was why he hadn’t yet been transferred to state prison.

KCBS’ Mike Colgan Reports:

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News and the Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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