Inmate attacks several in hospital escape attempt

FRESNO, Calif.

Fresno police tell Action News the suspect who tried to escape pepper sprayed a Fresno County correctional officer, two hospital staff members and a patient who tried to help out during the scuffle.

Authorities tell Action News the staff members and the patient were extremely helpful in getting the suspect back in custody.

The violent escape attempt happened around 4:15 Friday afternoon.

Fresno police say the suspect, 31-year-old John Ramirez asked to use the restroom and then attacked the correctional officer.

A Fresno police officer was just down the hall and ran to help.

The Fresno officer, Richard Cerrando, reportedly found the correctional officer on his back. He and two staff members and a patient had been pepper sprayed.

Fresno police say Ramirez also tried to take the correctional officer's gun.

"Had it not been for the good Samaritans - that would be the CRMC staff personnel and patient - to include the heroic actions of the officer, it's our belief that this individual would have capitalized on that and ultimately used the firearm against the correctional officer," Sgt. Paul Cervantez of the Fresno Police Department said.

No one was seriously injured in the attack. The Fresno County Sheriff's Department tells Action News the correctional officer, Frank Rangel, suffered a cut to the back of his head.

He and officer Cerrando were treated and released from the hospital.

As for the suspect, he is on parole and was out of jail on bail.

Action News has learned he has an violent criminal past. In addition to the robbery charges he was arrested for this morning police say he now faces attempted murder among several new charges.

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