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Inmate escapes in Manhattan Supreme Court, punches officer

A prisoner escaped custody at Manhattan Supreme Court Tuesday and attacked several officers of the court before he was tackled and subdued.

He ran through an inmate-holding area where attorneys meet with their clients and then into a courtroom, shoving defense attorney Brian Kennedy as he entered.

"I knew trouble was coming and then when I felt that push in the back I knew that trouble had found me and that it was on its way out into the courtroom," Kennedy said.

The inmate — who was not wearing handcuffs — slugged the first officer he came into contact with, Kennedy said. At least two court officers were injured.

This all happened approximately 15 feet away from Justice Jill Konviser.

The inmate was eventually tackled and taken back into custody. The Manhattan District Attorney's office is investigating and is expected to file charges in the incident.

"If that guy had a weapon or if that guy got desperate enough to take me hostage? It could have been a bad situation for me and it could have been situation for the court officers," Kennedy said.

The courtroom was immediately cleared out after the incident, but returned to business as usual about 45 minutes later.

Kennedy has been a lawyer for 24 years and said nothing like this has happened before. He still feels changes need to be made.

"I think that security has to be enhanced within the pens and back behind where the courtroom conducts its business."