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Santa Cruz Inmate Faces 29 Charges In Armed Escape

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A booking photo of Maurice Ainsworth (Santa Cruz Co. Sheriff's Department)

A booking photo of Maurice Ainsworth (Santa Cruz Co. Sheriff’s Department)

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SANTA CRUZ (BCN) — The Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s Office Tuesday filed 29 charges against an armed jail inmate who allegedly attacked a sheriff’s deputy last week at a hospital in Santa Cruz and prompted a five-hour manhunt.

Maurice Ainsworth, 24, will be arraigned Wednesday morning on charges including attempted murder, kidnapping, false imprisonment, and assault, according to the district attorney’s office.

The charges were filed in connection with an incident on Nov. 29 involving Santa Cruz County sheriff’s deputy Cathy Bramanti.

That morning, Bramanti had taken Ainsworth to Dominican Hospital for an MRI exam.

As she was placing shackles on his feet following the exam, Ainsworth, who stands 6 feet 6 inches tall and weighs 260 pounds, allegedly punched her in the face, Santa Cruz County sheriff’s Sgt. Dan Campos said.

Bramanti fought back, and the struggle continued as Ainsworth allegedly tried to leave the hospital. Outside, Ainsworth allegedly bit Bramanti, grabbed her Taser, and Tased her ear and neck.

He then allegedly grabbed her service weapon, a .40-caliber handgun, and fired at a female bystander who tried to help the deputy, Campos said. The bystander was not hit.

Ainsworth then fled the hospital and allegedly smashed his way into nearby Secret Garden Too preschool, where he grabbed a female teacher in a room with about four infants, held the gun to her head, and demanded her car keys.

He didn’t take the car but fled with the keys through a wooded area and into the Prospect Heights neighborhood, where he ended up at a home in the 100 block of English Drive, a street that runs along a ravine, the sheriff’s office said.

Over the five-hour period, Ainsworth moved between two neighboring homes, changing his clothes and ingesting prescription medicine at one home and briefly holding two people hostage at the first home. They were able to escape unharmed.

Ainsworth eventually surrendered to police that evening at one of the homes.

Prior to his escape, he had been in jail awaiting jury trial on Jan. 10, 2011, for charges stemming from an alleged kidnapping and home invasion robbery, Assistant District Attorney Steve Drottar said.

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

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