Escapee with violent past turns himself in to Orchard Park Police

Posted at 3:34 PM, Dec 17, 2014

A man with a violent past who escaped from the Buffalo City Court lockup has turned himself in.

Tuesday afternoon, Thomas Walsh, 29, of Buffalo escaped following his arraignment while awaiting transport by the Erie County Sheriff's Office.

Although Walsh was handcuffed from the waist down, he was able to walk out of the Buffalo City Court sally port, and out onto the streets of Buffalo.

"Anytime an individual is able to walk away from custody, a mistake has been made," said Thomas Diina, Superintendent of Jail Management.

Walsh was wanted for several charges, including petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property, and has prior violent crimes in his past, including a 2008 arrest for allegedly shaking his 3-month-old baby, causing serious injuries.

7 Eyewitness News did some digging and uncovered court documents where police say he has "resisted arrest" before.

Most recently, a criminal complaint from an altercation Monday says, "while police were placing the defendant into custody, the defendant did flee from and did fight with an officer."

The Erie County Sheriff's office is now launching a full internal investigation into how Walsh got away.

"The investigation will continue," said Chief Scott Joslyn of the Erie County Sheriff's office. "We're happy he is back in custody."

While he was missing, officials considered Walsh armed and dangerous and a reward of up to $1,000 was offered for information leading to his capture.

According to sheriff's deputies, anonymous tips poured in, but Walsh eventually surrendered in Orchard Park. Police say he has ties to that area.

On top of his other charges, Thomas Walsh is now facing a felony for escaping.