EAST CHICAGO, Ind. (CBS)– A Northwest Indiana murder suspect was back in custody Wednesday night after more than two weeks on the run.
In a story almost straight out of the movies, Leon Taylor, 22, escaped at a McDonald’s drive-through in Gary on Monday, Dec. 14, while he was being extradited from Texas and returned to Lake County, Indiana.
According to the Lake County Sheriff’s Department, officers arrested Taylor in the 4900 block of Indianapolis Boulevard in East Chicago at approximately 8:40 a.m. Wednesday – 16 days after his escape. Police said the arrest came after a “brief foot chase.”
“Our officers were able to utilize a wide range of resources including surveillance technology in the search for Taylor,” Sheriff Oscar Martinez Jr. said in a written statement.
CBS 2’s Marissa Parra spoke to the people who watched Taylor’s two weeks on the run come to an end Wednesday morning, just 11 miles away.
“This is the guy from the picture! And I said, oh my God, I can’t believe it! Right here in front of us,” said a witness, Ivette.
Indeed Taylor was right there in front of Ivette as she was working outside her shop in East Chicago. He was handcuffed on the sidewalk.
And how could she forget Taylor’s unforgettable escape that was captured on video? It shows Taylor popping open the door of a transport vehicle while it is parked at the drive-through window at the Gary McDonald’s, and he then takes off running handcuffed.
Published reports said he asked the driver to open the widow so he could spit. Despite officials saying he had a belly chain restraint, handcuffs and a leg brace on, Taylor vanished from law enforcement’s sight.
Taylor’s time on the lam didn’t last long.
“We heard dogs,” Ivette said. “Looking in the window, it was the dog grabbing a guy for the leg, dropping to the floor.”
Just two weeks later, just outside Ivette’s auto shop in East Chicago, Taylor was found.
“I couldn’t believe that he’d actually come back to this area,” said Henry Rodriguez. “I said OK, well, he’s, you know, not that smart and he needs to be caught.”
Video obtained exclusively by CBS 2 from Express Auto Repair showed Taylor being apprehended. He is seen sliding on the ice right before he is taken into custody.
For Rodriguez, for Ivette, and for everyone else nearby, Taylor’s arrest represented both a sigh of relief and a little bit of a reality check.
“It was scary, you know?” Ivette said. “Thinking about if he’d come inside and grabbed one of the workers – it could be me.”
Taylor has a history of violent crime. Court records showed more than a half dozen charges of armed robbery since 2018, including a previous accusation of trying to escape, with prosecutors saying he removed his monitoring bracelet.
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