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Man Surrenders After Standoff

Courts: Rapist just sentenced to 87 years in prison escapes from holding cell, arms himself and holds off sheriff's deputies for 2 hours.

May 06, 1997|DOUGLAS P. SHUIT | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A 26-year-old jail inmate who had just been sentenced to 87 years in prison managed to arm himself and hold sheriff's deputies at bay for more than two hours at the Long Beach courthouse before giving himself up for a cigarette and a can of soda, authorities said.

David Williams, a convicted rapist, managed to escape from a holding cell after being sentenced and found his way to a deputies' locker room between the second and third floors of the courthouse on Ocean Boulevard, authorities said.

Once inside, he put up a barricade and found a handgun and ammunition, deputies said.

Officials began evacuating the courthouse shortly after the incident began at 3:30 p.m.

Deputies assigned to the courthouse immediately sealed off the room while armed members of the sheriff's special weapons unit were called in from their base in East Los Angeles. Their arsenal included tear gas and guns and grenades capable of firing rubber bullets and pellets.

Finally, after negotiations with sheriff's deputies for more than two hours, Williams surrendered.

"He gave up the ammunition in exchange for a cigarette and the weapon in exchange for a soda," said Deputy Angie Prewett, a Sheriff's Department spokeswoman.

It was unclear how Williams got out of his cell, Prewett said.

"Sometime after he was sentenced, he managed to get out of the lockup area and move over to a locker room for deputies down the hallway," Prewett said. "We don't know how he got out."

Williams was arrested by Long Beach police in August 1996 for rape. He was convicted of 10 separate sex crimes, including rape and sodomy. He received the 87-year sentence because he used handcuffs on one of his victims, said a Long Beach Police Department representative.

"He will also be charged with escape in addition to his 87-year sentence," Prewett said.

Times staff writer Greg Krikorian contributed to this story.

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