Suspect in California fatal hostage incident escapes custody

A suspect arrested in connection with a fatal hostage incident at a California park in April escaped from custody Sunday, officials said.

Eric Abril, 35, is accused of shooting and wounding a Highway Patrol officer at Mahany Park and taking two bystanders hostage, fatally shooting one and injuring the other, police said.

Abril escaped from the Sutter Roseville Medical Center early Sunday. The Placer County Sheriff’s Office and the Roseville Police Department are searching the greater east Roseville area.

Officials did not clarify why Abril was at the medical center.

Mahany Park in Roseville, Calif.
Mahany Park in Roseville, Calif.Google Maps

“We have developed new information revealing Abril was last seen on video surveillance walking in the area of Rainier Court in Rocklin at 3:39 a.m., and then northbound a few minutes later on Saddletree Lane,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

Officials describe Abril as “a six-foot tall white male with brown hair, weighing 175 pounds,” who was last seen wearing an orange jail jumpsuit. In an update, the sheriff’s office said that Abril was not wearing a shirt and was not shackled at the waist but that he is believed to be wearing orange jail pants.

The sheriff’s office encourages anyone with information to help find him to come forward.

“We ask the immediate public to exercise extreme caution and to call 911 immediately if Abril is seen,” it said.

The gunfire erupted at Mahany Park around 12:30 p.m. April 6, when California Highway Patrol officers tried to serve a search warrant to a man as part of a felony investigation, the Highway Patrol said. Roseville police later identified the man as Abril.

The suspect ran and fired at Highway Patrol officers, and “an officer involved shooting occurred” as the gunman ran toward a greenbelt area, the Highway Patrol alleged in a statement Friday.

Abril alleged took the two people hostage, officials alleged. The hostages were later identified as a married couple.

James MacEgan, of Roseville, was killed, and his spouse was shot and injured, police said.

Abril was arrested and charged with murder and attempted murder, along with several other related charges, officials said.

It was not clear whether he has legal representation.

Erick Mendoza contributed.