Police were searching for a man who may still have a pair of handcuffs dangling from his wrist in Hemet, California, after he escaped custody Monday, Hemet police said.
Witnesses were left stunned as they watched the scene play out in a bank parking lot.
"I just happened to look out the window and saw a police officer running west," Elisabeth Harshey, a witness, said.
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Schools in the area, including Acacia Middle School, went on lockdown as officers searched the area by air and by ground.
Investigators said Hemet police responded to a call of a suspicious vehicle at 11 a.m. in the 1600 block of east Florida Avenue.
When an officer arrived, witnesses said he quickly took one man into custody.
But when the officer tried to handcuff the second man, the man allegedly got violent and broke free with the handcuffs dangling from one wrist.
Witnesses said they saw the man throw something as he ran away.
"There was like plastic bags, like it was wrapped up or things like that," witness Chelsea Lopez said.
The officer who got into the scuffle was taken to a nearby hospital with a broken finger. Investigators said he will make a full recovery.
In a search of the truck following the incident, investigators say they found at least three handguns and a 3-foot-long machete.
Hemet police had yet to release a description of the man who escaped.