Michelle Kim

Inmate Storms NYC Courtroom, Attacks Officers: Authorities

An inmate with a criminal record rushed into a Manhattan courtroom and assaulted three court officers, sending them to the hospital with injuries, authorities say. 

Inmate Joseph Cannon broke free from Department of Correction Officers at Manhattan Criminal Court on Centre Street, ran up the stairs and into a courtroom on the 13th floor, where proceedings were underway, court officials said. 

Cannon, who was uncuffed, tried to fight off court officers inside the Part 31 Courtroom. 

Criminal defense attorney Brian Kennedy was speaking with his client inside a holding pen at the time and heard the commotion in the courtroom. He went to the courtroom, and that's where Cannon attacked him.

"He pushed me from behind and was trying to push me out into the courtroom," said Kennedy. "The courtroom officers heard the commotion and came over." 

Kennedy says Cannon was just feet away from the judge and from legal interns sitting in a jury box. 

"He was saying his name and that he was on trial, said it over and over," said Kennedy.

As court officers rushed to stop him, Cannon fought back and punched one officer, according to Kennedy. A total of three officers were taken to area hospitals.

The inmate's escape was brief, probably about 30 seconds, Kennedy estimated.

Cannon now faces additional felony charges for assaulting the officers. He was originally in court for robbery.

"He could have easily made his way further into the courtroom," said Kennedy. "It could have been a really dangerous situation, especially if he had a weapon." 

The three court officers are expected to be OK. 

Cannon has a criminal record, inclusing five arrests since 2015 -- one for an assault with a deadly weapon against a police officer. 

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