(AP) - The Winona County attorney called an inmate who has escaped from a locked hospital ward a "tremendous risk" to public safety with a violent past.
Winona County Attorney Chuck MacLean was referring to Michael Goodwin, 26, who escaped Tuesday from Community Memorial Hospital, where he was being treated for wrist wounds after an apparent suicide attempt with a shaving razor.
MacLean described Goodwin's violent history in a statement Wednesday. The statement also corrected some information put out earlier in the day by the sheriff's office.
Goodwin has been convicted eight times for assaults, including a stabbing in 2002. He was believed to be armed and dangerous, in part because recently seized photos show him posing with a cache of semiautomatic handguns, assault weapons and gas masks.
Goodwin was arrested Saturday while on work release on suspicion of buying drugs from a police informant.
He was charged Wednesday with felony escape from custody, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. He's described as African-American, 5-foot-11, 170 pounds with a thin mustache and a goatee. Wanted posters have been distributed nationwide.
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Sheriff Dave Brand said he was not aware of the guns or Goodwin's complete criminal history when he told the reporters Tuesday that Goodwin was not a threat to public safety.
"I hadn't checked his background," he said. "My biggest concern was to get the word out so we could find him."
Some of the details of Goodwin's escape aren't clear, but Brand said that on Tuesday afternoon a woman and a man visited Goodwin in what he called a "set up."
The woman left, apparently to get a vehicle. The man prepared to leave about 10 minutes later and hugged Goodwin. As the man was leaving the ward through a temporarily unlocked door, Goodwin pushed past him and fled.
Now Goodwin is on the loose, and even his mother is worried. Dawn Keeting, who lives in Illinois, said her son has had suicidal tendencies his whole life and is mentally unstable. She said Goodwin told jail staff that they shouldn't give him even a shaving razor.
"They're there to serve and protect, not to drive a man to ... hurt himself," she said of the jail staff. "I'm frightened for his life."
Information from: Winona Daily News, http://www.winonadailynews.com
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)