Escaped Killer Pepper Sprayed Deputy, Stole Her Car During Hospital Visit

By Bill Galluccio

February 26, 2024

Leon Ruffin
Photo: Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office

Authorities in Louisiana are searching for an escaped killer who was serving a life sentence. Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joseph Lopinto said that 51-year-old Leon Ruffin was taken to Ochsner Medical Center In Gretna on Sunday (February 25). After his medical visit was finished, he was released back into police custody but got into an altercation with a deputy.

Ruffin pepper sprayed the deputy and then drove away in her squad car. The deputy fired three shots at Ruffin as he sped away. It is unclear if she struck him.

The police cruiser was found unoccupied several hours later, about three miles from the medical center.

Lopinto said that Ruffin, who was serving a life sentence for second-degree murder, should be considered "armed and dangerous."

"I really don't believe he has anything to lose again; he's in for second-degree murder for life in prison at this point in time. So, I definitely consider him armed and dangerous by all means," Lopinto said. "As I said, I don't believe he has a firearm. My deputy had her firearm still on her at this point. But he's certainly armed with pepper spray that he still has in his custody."

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