Disclaimer: All persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — New Orleans police are searching for a teenager who they say escaped while being transferred to the city’s Juvenile Justice Intervention Center Wednesday morning.

A spokesperson for the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) said the 17-year-old, who was in custody at the Acadiana Center for Youth at St. Martinville, ran away from the transport vehicle around 8:11 a.m.

The district’s councilman, Eugene Green, clarified the escape happened as the transfer was in progress.

“Of course, that doesn’t mitigate the fact there’s someone out there who is troubled, who really needs to be back in the justice system to let the justice system work,” Green said.

Sources close to the investigation identified the detainee as Curtis Tassin, who, in March of 2022, was among the teens who escaped from the Bridge City Center for Youth before allegedly stealing a truck in Jefferson Parish and crashing it in Opelousas where he was rearrested.

The NOPD spokesperson said the escapee should be considered armed and dangerous.

One neighbor who didn’t wish to be identified says they witnessed the moment Tassin bolted.

“Just somebody running from the building and then throwing the little belt buckle into somebody’s yard,” the neighbor said.

Some neighbors say they typically feel safe, living so close to a detention center, but this morning was different.

“I mean, it was frightening this morning to see somebody running by,” the neighbor recalled. “It didn’t seem like a whole lot, like no police left the area or anything, so I assume he hasn’t been caught, so that’s frightening.”

Green made a plea for Tassin’s return.

“There’s nothing to be gained; it doesn’t help your case. It’s unsafe for you to be right now alone in the streets of New Orleans,” Green said. “The bottom line is that we also want the public to be aware of the need to be vigilant.”

A command center has been established at the Office of Juvenile Justice’s Probation & Parole Regional Office in New Orleans to gather, track, and distribute information to assist in the apprehension of Tassin.  

Anyone with information is asked to call local law enforcement immediately, or contact the command center at 504-439-8544.  

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