Man escapes from custody at court, triggers Elyria High School lockdown

Posted at 1:53 PM, Sep 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-21 18:20:34-04

Multiple police agencies in Lorain County are looking for a man who escaped from custody at an Elyria court Thursday morning, according to Capt. Christopher Costantino.

The suspect, 20-year-old Desmond Ligon, was transported to the Lorain County Justice Center from a community-based correctional facility by authorities for an arraignment on drug charges.

According to court records, Ligon was facing felony-level drug trafficking charges.

Authorities said Desmond Ligon escaped instead of getting back in the transport van in the area of Middle Avenue and 3rd Street around 9:18 a.m. 

This is the second time in about seven years that someone has managed to get away from a staff member at the Lorain-Medina Community Based Correctional Facility.

"We don't lock them up, we don't handcuff them, we don't do any of that nature, we just basically have someone go with them," said Mike Willets with the correctional facility.

At one point in time, offenders were handcuffed when being transported. That could be the again soon.

"Basically, we're not law enforcement. Again, that is gonna be visited. I'm gonna be talking to the judges in common pleas to see if and when we can decide to do something a little different here."

Elyria High School, which is located near the courthouse, was having a planned evacuation drill when Ligon escaped. The escape prompted officials to put the school on lockdown for a brief period of time, Costantino said. The lockdown was lifted a short time later.

The Lorain County Sheriff's Office is handling the investigation. An additional warrant for an escape charge has also been issued. 

Ligon isn't the first person to disappear from the courthouse and trigger a search. 

In February, Devante Gibbs, 24, walked away from from the courthouse where he was on trial for the kidnapping and rape of a 2-year-old child.  

Gibbs fled to California but was apprehended and extradited back to Ohio