Four Rikers Island inmates reportedly attempted escaping prison Monday by breaking down cinderblock walls with a toilet ripped from the floor, the New York Daily News reports.
The inmates, Vernon Easley, Chris Martinez, Jeffrey Lashley, and Naquan Febres, then reportedly crawled through the holes they created, attacking an officer with bricks. According to department records, the officer ran off and called for backup.
An internal department report stated that “the inmates entered the dayroom and refused to exit.” Officials managed to avert the escape by convincing the inmates to head back in to different cells. The incident went without anyone getting injured, per acting Correction Department Commissioner Mark Cranston.
“The officers and captain on post showed remarkable professionalism and restraint and no force was necessary to deal with this incident,” Cranston said.
However, the inmates did cause an estimated $6,000 in damages.
“Those who caused it will be held accountable,” Cranston added.
It remains unknown how the officer patrolling the area was unable to hear them escape; guards are to check the cells once every 30 minutes in that particular location.
Jail supervisors are now worried the attempt will inspire copycats.
“This has never happened before,” a veteran jail boss told the Daily News. “All the other inmates are going to find out. Word travels fast.”
A department official did point out, however, that the housing unit where the escape attempt happened is meant for mentally ill inmates. Meanwhile, all prisoners in the unit were being moved to a more secure area at the time.
Criminal charges are currently pending against the inmates.