CAMBRIDGE, Md. — A patient escaped from one of Maryland’s state-run psychiatric hospitals Tuesday evening by exiting through a shot-out window and fleeing in a waiting getaway car, according to local police.
An unidentified person approached the Eastern Shore Hospital Center, fired several gunshots into a glass window and kicked in the broken window frame, Cambridge Police Chief Justin Todd said in a news release Wednesday morning. That allowed the patient to escape, and the two drove away in a black vehicle, police said.
No injuries were reported at the scene.
The escapee was identified as 19-year-old Darrin Lee Jeter, who was committed to the hospital earlier this year after being arrested and accused of assaulting a law enforcement officer and other counts.
Court records show he was held without bail after the May arrest. A mental health evaluation was presented to the court and Jeter was placed in the custody of the Maryland Department of Health, according to court records. He has a hearing scheduled for November to determine whether he’s mentally competent to stand trial.
Jeter was later located by law enforcement in Montgomery County, a suburban area north of Washington, D.C., about 100 miles from the hospital.
Police didn’t say whether he would face additional charges related to the escape or where he’ll be housed going forward. They said they’re still working to identify the shooter.
Patrick Moran, president of AFSCME Maryland, the union that represents the majority of Eastern Shore Hospital Center employees, said the escape illustrates workplace safety hazards that can arise as a result of understaffing and other management issues. He blamed former Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration for disinvesting in state-run facilities and said this should be a wake-up call to Gov. Wes Moore, who took office earlier this year.
“Our members are incredibly shaken up,” he said. “They don’t want to see something like this happen again.”
The Maryland Department of Health confirmed the escape in a statement Wednesday morning and said the agency “has secured the facility and is providing any care or counseling needed by patients or staff.”