Inmate escape triggers lockdowns

October 19, 2009 5:07:24 PM PDT
An county jail inmate escaped on his way to a court appearance, triggering a lockdown at Texas A&M University-Kingsville and local schools. Authorities say Rafael Ortega broke free from deputies Monday morning while being taken from a jail van to the Kleberg County Courthouse for a pretrial hearing on an aggravated robbery charge.

Kleberg County Chief Deputy Juan Gonzalez told the Corpus Christi Caller-Times that police recovered shackles Ortega had been wearing.

The 5-foot-5, 150-pound Ortega is accused in a May 9 doughnut shop robbery in which a 23-year-old man was shot.

Officials said school lockdowns eased later in the day. However, Texas A&M-Kingsville classes were canceled and school-aged children were encouraged to stay close to home.

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