Details continue to come out about how a man – accused of first-degree murder for allegedly fatally shooting his girlfriend, 18, last month in Kent – managed to briefly escape custody on the Fouth of July while being treated for illness at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
Giovanni Herrin, 19, of Federal Way, was on a gurney with four-point restraints on his arms and legs and an armed King County jail guard in the room when he fled from the hospital, according to probable cause court documents filed against Herrin for investigation of escape and robbery.
Herrin ran out of the hospital and jumped in the backseat of a vehicle with a Lyft driver stopped at a red light at the intersection of Yesler Way and Eighth Avenue. Herrin reportedly slapped the head of the driver about three times and told him, “Give me a ride! Go, go, go!” The driver saw two uniformed officers with guns drawn coming at his vehicle, so he threw his body down on the passenger’s front seat. The driver said Herrin was in the vehicle about 5 seconds.
Herrin then ran out of the vehicle, guards fired shots and a shot hit and injured Herrin, who was taken into custody. He was treated at Harborview for his injury and released on Thursday.
As far as how Herrin initially escaped from the hospital room, details remain sketchy. Two armed guards were in the room, but one of them briefly left the room, according to court documents. The other officer was distracted for about 10 to 15 seconds and when he looked back at the gurney, Herrin was gone.
Hospital staff told the guards that Herrin ran out of the building.
Witnesses said they saw Herrin running down the street in an orange jail inmate jumpsuit with officers chasing him. The witnesses saw Herrin briefly enter a vehicle and then exit.
A Seattle Police officer obtained video surveillance from a building near the hospital that showed Herrin running in his inmate clothing, removing the orange top and throwing it on the ground, and then putting on a white T-shirt.
Jail officers did not yet provide statements to the police. King County jail staff plan to conduct their own investigation into the incident.
Herrin made a second court appearance Friday in Seattle on the escape charge. Prosecutors decided to add a first-degree escape charge to his first-degree murder charge. He remains in custody in the county jail in Seattle. A judge raised bail to $2 million at the request of prosecutors.
Herrin had been scheduled to be arraigned on the murder charge Thursday morning in King County Superior Court at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. Because Herrin was in the hospital on Thursday morning, that arraignment has been rescheduled to Tuesday, July 10 in Kent, although there’s a chance the case could be moved to the King County Courthouse in Seattle because of security reasons, according to a King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office spokeswoman.
King County prosecutors charged Herrin on June 22 with first-degree murder for allegedly shooting Karyme Barreto-Sabalza, of Des Moines, once in the head and leaving her on a trail to die during the evening of June 16 at Salt Air Vista Park, 24615 26th Place S., on the West Hill. Prosecutors listed robbery as a motive as Herrin reportedly fled the crime scene with Barreto-Sabalza’s car, purse and cellphone, according to court documents. Soon after the shooting, Herrin was seen at an ATM where the victim banked.
Barreto-Sabalza told a friend on social media just weeks before she was shot that she feared for her life because of her relationship with Herrin.