San Jose top cop tackles murder suspect escaping custody

SAN JOSE (KGO) -- San Jose Police Chief Larry Esquivel says he was just doing his job when he tackled a murder suspect who had escaped from his cell.

Esquivel was being modest in the wake of all this publicity.

"That's our job, but really the real heroes are the men and women who are out there every day," he said.

But anyone else who did what he did could be called a hero.

Hector Arias, the man Esquivel tackled, was a wanted man for almost six years. He fled to Mexico after shooting someone in 2009. But his luck suddenly changed.

Arias was arrested last weekend by Mexican police. They say he put up a good fight, punching and biting officers.

Yesterday, he was extradited to San Jose to a police holding cell, which was supposed to be escape proof, but somehow he got away while handcuffed.

He ran outside, scaled a fence and ended up in the police parking lot. As Arias was running across the lot, Esquivel was pulling up in his car.

He saw a man running with handcuffs and he went into cop-mode immediately.

"I attempted to unsuccessfully tackle him and it was more of a forearm shuffle and he kind of lost his balance and I directly lost my balance and fell on the ground," Esquivel said.

Arias managed to free himself after being tackled and he on Mission Street toward Guadalupe parking. But the chief, a former team member, didn't give up.

Esquivel ran after Araias as he zig-zagged through traffic.

"Luckily, I was able to catch up to him. He kind of, stumbled as well and I eventually caught up to him and as he started to fall. I again kind of got on him and held him down," Esquivel added.

He held him down until officers caught up to them. The chief suffered only minor bruises and a torn shirt. Arias was also banged up and possibly wondering who the mystery cop was who tackled him.
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