A Rikers Island inmate climbed a recreation yard fence and ran to the shoreline Thursday, but two emergency service correction officers jumped in to thwart the escape, Department of Correction and union officials said.
The detainee, who sources identified as Arthur Brown, was "promptly apprehended by DOC staff" around 12:30 p.m., said Peter Thorne, deputy commissioner of public information for DOC, which oversees the notorious New York City jail.
The union that represents New York City correction officers, Correction Officers' Benevolent Association (COBA), applauded the two ESU officers involved, who swam into the water to get Brown before taking him into custody. The officers were identified as Larry McArdle and Greg Braska.
“These two brave officers immediately jumped into action to bring the inmate back into custody without any regards for their own safety," COBA President Elias Husamudeen said in a statement. "We proudly salute them for their bravery and for reminding the public the critical role Correction Officers play every day in maintaining public safety.”
The investigation is ongoing, Thorne said. Police sources told NBC New York that Brown has 31 prior arrests, and that he's at Rikers this time for felony and misdemeanor assault. An attempted escape charge will now likely be added lengthy criminal record.
Earlier Thursday, a senior NYPD official had told News 4 at least one detainee had escaped into the water off Rikers Island. That apparently was unfounded.