UPDATE (02/28/24):

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto says they were able to capture murder suspect Leon Ruffin Tuesday afternoon at a motel called the Trident Inn.

The man, who escaped custody Monday by pepper spraying a deputy, was taken into custody without incident.

Lopinto speculates that Ruffin was at that location from the time he escaped.

ORIGINAL STORY (02/26/24):

A man who was being transferred from a hospital to the correctional center in Jefferson Parish pepper sprayed the deputy who was escorting him, and the man was able to escape according to WWLTV.

The man, Leon Ruffin, then stole the deputy's marked police cruiser and fled from the scene.

Sheriff Joe Lopinto says the search continues today after this incident began to unfold Sunday evening. Lopinto says the cruiser was later found abandoned in Algiers.

Sheriff Joe Lopinto

Sheriff Lopinto says Ruffin has nothing to lose,

I really don't believe he has anything to lose again; he's in for second-degree murder for life in prison at this point in time. So, I definitely consider him armed and dangerous by all means. As I said, I don't believe he has a firearm. But he's certainly armed with pepper spray that he still has in his custody.

Ruffin was taken to the hospital and treated for having a seizure. While in the back seat of the police vehicle, he began creating a disturbance and when the deputy went to help him, she was sprayed with pepper spray.

She fired her weapon three times, but officials do not know whether or not Ruffin was struck by any of the bullets.

A whole host of agencies including the Louisiana State Police and FBI are assisting the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office in their search for Ruffin.

Lopinto says Ruffin was in the medical facility at the jail claiming illness and was eventually transferred to the hospital. They are investigating every aspect of this case including how Ruffin was able to get his hands on the pepper spray.

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