A suspected killer who appears to have escaped a large dragnet in downtown Los Angeles Tuesday afternoon had mistakenly been released from custody due to a data entry error, several law enforcement sources told NBC News.
Steven Manzo vanished after running across the 101 Freeway in jail clothes, and the sources said officials discovered that an incorrect entry in a computer system had led to his release.
LA County jail records show an entry at 2:12 p.m. dismissed a murder case against Manzo. The Sheriff’s Department said deputies spotted a man matching Manzo's description at 2:45 p.m. near the 101 Freeway and Vignes Street and called for assistance from the LAPD.
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The search temporarily caused the 101 Freeway to be closed in both directions for about 30 minutes during afternoon rush hour, and police said some southbound lanes were closed for a longer duration.
The search concluded around 5:00 p.m. and Manzo was not located, according to an LAPD spokesman.
Manzo, 23, was arrested March 5 and charged Monday with the July 26, 2018, murder of Salvador Corrales, 24, after a dispute in a parking lot, according to Long Beach Police.
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The LA County Sheriff’s Department, which runs the county jails and is responsible for moving most inmates awaiting trial to and from court, referred NBC LA’s inquiries about Manzo’s release to the Long Beach Police Department.
Long Beach confirmed that the man sought in downtown Los Angeles Tuesday was Manzo but was not immediately able to discuss how he left custody.
The sheriff's department issued a statement Wednesday, saying it did not erroneously release a murder suspect, as the search continued for Manzo.
"LASD received an 'Order For Release' from the court, indicating the case was dismissed. As such, the Department complied with the court order and processed the individual for release,'' according to the statement. "Should you have any further questions about this incident or the circumstances surrounding it, please contact Long Beach Police Department or the District Attorney's Office.''