WATCH: Federal Prisoner Escapes Custody at Milwaukee Airport

Robert Johnson Jr. (Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office / Facebook).
Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office / Facebook

Federal prisoner Robert Johnson Jr. ran past an unarmed guard on Tuesday inside Milwaukee’s Mitchell International Airport, ABC 13 reported.

Officials said Johnson got off the airplane and asked to use the restroom, however, once his handcuffs were undone, he allegedly hit his escort and took off running.

An additional camera outside the building showed Johnson sprinting past vehicles and to the nearby parking garage:

Milwaukee County Sheriff Earnell Lucas said deputies were unaware the prisoner would be arriving at the airport.

“I think it was very unfortunate. It jeopardized the safety of passengers, both here at Mitchell and the airline,” Lucas stated.
The sheriff explained that a private company, U. S. Corrections, was transporting the prisoner from Laredo, Texas, to Rock County, Wisconsin.

“Johnson is facing robbery and cocaine charges. Neither the private prisoner transport company or the United States Marshals Service have responded about the escape,” the ABC 13 report said.
In a social media post on Wednesday, the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office detailed what happened after the agency was notified of the incident:

Sheriff’s Office personnel responded immediately, containing the parking structure where Mr. Johnson had evaded pursuit and conducting an intensive search of an area spanning Howell Ave. on the east, South 6th Street on the west, West Grange Avenue on the south, and West Layton Avenue on the north. This search was soon joined by the Milwaukee Police Department. By this point, it appears that Mr. Johnson had fled airport grounds, and a man matching his description was observed in the area of S. 3rd St. and W. Grange Ave. at approximately 9:42 p.m. The search perimeter was expanded significantly, encompassing a significant portion of Milwaukee’s far south side, but without result.

The U.S. Marshal’s Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin initiated a “fugitive apprehension effort” to find Johnson and put him back in custody, the post read.

Please see the attached Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office news release, which includes details of the circumstances of…

Posted by Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, November 10, 2021

“Certainly the U.S. Marshals is conducting the investigation and trying to apprehend the individual and take him back into custody,” Lucas commented. “But in the meantime there was some procedures that need to be looked at to insure the safety of the flying public.”

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