Fugitive held after brazen escape from Detroit courthouse

Officers searched an abandoned building in Detroit on Monday after a convicted carjacker escaped from a courthouse by allegedly stabbing a deputy with a sharpened comb.

Paul Sancya/Associated Press

Officers searched an abandoned building in Detroit on Monday after a convicted carjacker escaped from a courthouse by allegedly stabbing a deputy with a sharpened comb.

DETROIT — A convicted carjacker escaped from a downtown courthouse Monday afternoon after allegedly using a plastic comb to stab a sheriff’s deputy, but the man was apprehended hours later, according to the Wayne County sheriff.

Dozens of officers fanned out across Detroit to search for Abraham Pearson, 25, who will now face 11 additional charges related to his alleged attack and escape.


Pearson was being escorted to court for a long prison sentence for carjacking and other crimes when the attack happened, authorities said.

He repeatedly stabbed Harrison Tolliver in the neck, took the deputy’s uniform, ran from the courthouse, and carjacked a minivan, police said. The vehicle eventually was abandoned blocks away on the city’s east side. Tolliver’s injuries were not considered serious.

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Some schools were locked down during the manhunt.

Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon said Pearson, also known as Derreck White, was caught after a short chase. ‘‘He tried to escape again but was caught,’’ Napoleon said.

Tolliver, 63, was escorting Pearson and two other inmates to court on the seventh floor of the courthouse and was removing handcuffs when he was attacked with a comb that had been turned into a sharp weapon, the sheriff said.


‘‘The part of the comb that he was stabbed with broke. It did not inflict any life-threatening injuries,’’ Napoleon said.

Pearson was recently convicted of carjacking and was facing many years in prison. He claimed he was unwittingly given a stolen car as a way to settle a debt, but Judge Dana Hathaway disagreed and found him guilty.

Defense attorney James Howarth said Pearson’s mental health was an issue. He spent months at a state psychiatric center before being found competent to face trial.

Howarth said Pearson reported a history of hallucinations, and he wondered if mental health played a role in the escape.

‘‘In his right mind he would not have done this,’’ Howarth said outside the courthouse. ‘‘In the year I have known him, he has never showed the slightest symptom of being dangerous. . . . It may have been a final act of desperation.’’

Associated Press

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