Robbery suspect escapes custody in Fremont courtroom

Bay Area

FREMONT (KRON) — After allegedly committing a strong-arm robbery at a Safeway in Union City over the weekend, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office says 30-year-old transient Darryl Bernard was booked into custody at the Fremont Police detention facility.

He was then taken to the Fremont Hall of Justice Monday evening for his arraignment. When the judge denied his released, he turned a robbery into a whole lot more.

“He was in the arraignment booth, which is staffed by a deputy. It has a six foot wall in there. It is confined space,” Alameda County Sgt. Ray Kelly said.

But Kelly says the top of the booth is uncovered.

He says since Bernard was not handcuffed, and still dressed in his street clothes, he was athletic enough to jump the wall.

He wrestled with deputies and a sergeant, who unsuccessfully tried to deploy a taser, before bolting out of the building.

It was a very rare escape, says Kelly, adding the sheriff’s office is conducting an internal review on the security breakdown and considering covering the top of arraignment booths.

“There’s an emergency door lock we may have been able to hit, but we weren’t able to get to that door lock in time,” Sgt. Kelly said. “I think our deputies did the best they could with what they had, and given the scenario, we’re lucky no one was more seriously injured.”

Kelly says it’s possible Bernard jumped on a bike somewhere.

In addition to the robbery charge, he was also on probation for domestic violence.

Kelly says Bernard’s criminal history isn’t very long.

“He was, you know, obviously looking at a criminal case before, but he made it worse with the escape. That being said, we can still get through this in a peaceful way, if he could just turn himself in,” Kelly said.

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