College Area

Convicted Murderer's Escape From Alvarado Hospital Prompts SWAT Response

36-year-old inmate Gabriel Cardenas was later located on the medical facility's roof

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A convicted murderer who was being treated at a College Area hospital briefly escaped law enforcement’s custody late Tuesday, prompting a tense search and response from a SWAT team.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) said a R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility inmate Gabriel Cardenas, who was being treated for an unspecified reason at Alvarado Hospital Medical Center, escaped from his room at 11 p.m. He was able to climb through a window to the roof of the building after he removed a leg restraint, CDCR said.

The incident prompted San Diego police and a SWAT team to launch a search of the grounds. Shortly after midnight, law enforcement located Cardenas on the roof of the hospital.

During the arrest, a CDCR officer opened fire twice. No injuries were reported in connection to that and authorities were then able to take the 36-year-old inmate into custody.

"We are conducting an investigation into this incident," CDCR said in a statement. "On the discharged weapon, the Office of the Inspector General has been contacted, as well as our Office of Internal Affairs." 

Cardenas was convicted for the 2014 first-degree murder, kidnapping and carjacking of a Cathedral City resident.

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