Chief says he was just doing his job when tackling murder suspect

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) -- As San Jose's Police Chief talked to the media Tuesday about his Monday morning takedown of a murder suspect who escaped from a holding cell at police headquarters, he insisted he was just doing his job.

While the chief is getting some much deserved kudos, questions surrounding how the inmate escaped in the first place are being raised.

"That's our job," said Esquivel. "The real heroes are the men and women every day. I got to be a cop for a couple minutes."

The top cop was pulling into the police parking lot Monday morning when he saw a man wearing handcuffs running. After the chief ordered him to stop and he didn't, he sprang into action tackling the suspect.

But the suspect got away and ran down the street near Highway 87. A block away, Chief Esquivel was finally able to pin him down.

"He was zig zagging going through traffic," said Esquivel. "As he started to fall I went on him and held him down."

The suspect, Hector Arias, was arrested Sunday in Mexico. He is wanted for the murder of a 22-year-old man six years ago. His mug shot shows marks police said he sustained after he bit two officers and attacked another one in Mexico. He was not injured from the scuffle with the chief.

Police say Arias in handcuffs was able to flip his hands around in front of him, escape a locked holding cell and scale a 15-foot high barbed wire fence. KTVU specifically asked the chief how Arias was able to escape custody.

"That's something we are looking into," said Esquivel. "We are looking into the incident. His ability to get out of that temporary holding facility, that room, we are looking into how that happened, how that door was able to be opened."

Police are now conducting an internal investigation. The independent police auditor is also looking into it.

Police said an inmate escaping from headquarters has not happened in recent history. Police will now review surveillance video, which they are not releasing to the public.