Algiers residents share concern about Jefferson Parish escaped inmate

Disclaimer: All persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Residents of Algiers were left stunned Sunday night when they learned an escaped inmate charged with second-degree murder might be in their neighborhood.

Some began reaching out to loved ones, making sure they knew of the potential threat.

“I called my daughter that’s 22 to let her know that somebody escaped in a sheriff’s car, but would she be aware it’s not a cop that’s stopping her. Just for her to be aware that a cop car is out here that is not a cop. It’s a convict,” said Algiers resident Angela Heard.

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The escape reportedly occurred outside Ochsner Medical Center in Gretna, where investigators said 51-year-old Leon Ruffin attacked the deputy that was transporting him after he claimed he had a seizure in jail.

Some residents are questioning why there was one deputy with no backup.

“Why would there not be two? Why would there not be one staying in the car and the other one doing the pickup and putting him in the backseat of that thing?” said Metairie resident Arzel Bergeron.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joseph Lopinto said Ruffin pepper sprayed the deputy before escaping in the unit; however, he noted that the deputy still had her own pepper spray when backup arrived.

Some said they now wonder how Ruffin was able to get the spray in the first place.

“How could a convict have a pepper spray unless it’s inside of the jailhouse? It’s a lot that goes on inside the house that they need to evaluate,'” said Heard.

Ruffin allegedly dumped the deputy’s unit in Algiers and vanished, which caused concern for people who live there.

“If he’s out and about, he needs money, and he needs transportation and he’s going to take advantage of us just living our lives. So, I’m concerned. I’m very concerned,” said resident Tachel Alexander.

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