Detainee dies after jumping from Bronx jail barge into river in escape attempt

“He was gone when he hit the water,” a Correction Department source said

By Graham Rayman
New York Daily News

NEW YORK — A detainee who tried to escape by jumping from a jail barge in the Bronx into the East River has died, the Daily News has learned.

Gregory Acevedo, 48, jumped from the rooftop recreation yard at the Vernon C. Bain Center in Hunt’s Point about 11:44 a.m. Tuesday after climbing a fence and crawling through razor wire in an escape attempt.

Rikers Island Vernon C. Bain Center prison barge in Hunts Point.
Rikers Island Vernon C. Bain Center prison barge in Hunts Point. (Photo/James Keivom via TNS)

At 5:50 a.m. Wednesday, city Correction Department higher ups were alerted Acevedo had died, internal documents obtained by The News show. The Correction Department has not confirmed the death and has said nothing since issuing a terse statement on the incident at 2:40 p.m. Tuesday.

Sources said Acevedo died at Mt. Sinai Queens between 10 p.m. Tuesday and midnight. He was unresponsive and in cardiac arrest when NYPD harbor pulled him from the river and took him to a pier on Rikers Island.

“He was gone when he hit the water,” a Correction Department source said.

Acevedo’s death would be the 15th in Correction Department custody this year. Sixteen detainees died in custody in 2021.

Acevedo’s leap follows an escape from the Bain Center in July 2021 when David Mordukhaev, 30, shimmed from his cell down a rope made of sheets and got away for several days before he was recaptured.

Investigators were looking into whether a use of force by correction officers sparked Acevedo’s escape, sources said. Officers used pepper spray on Acevedo at some point as he tried to escape.

The detainee’s lawyer, Warren Silverman, said the officers pepper sprayed the man as he was on the jail’s fence.

Silverman said Tuesday the incident was a “massive failure” on the part of the Correction Department.

In 1995, Acevedo was convicted of attempted murder, robbery, assault and escape in Brooklyn. He served 20 years in prison and was paroled in 2016, state records show.

He was arrested Feb. 26 on a robbery and assault charge in Queens, which led the state to move to violate his parole. He was ordered held without bail.

According to the criminal complaint, Acevedo allegedly broke into a van in Ozone Park and stole a box of tools.

The owners of the van spotted him and Acevedo allegedly attacked them with two screwdrivers, causing puncture wounds, scrapes and bruises.

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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