A robbery suspect held without bail on a New York City jail barge has died hours after reportedly throwing himself several stories into the East River as part of an “attempted escape.”
Gregory Acevedo, who was in custody at the Vernon C. Bain Center (VCBC) – a maritime facility nicknamed “The Boat,” passed away on Tuesday, the New York City Department of Correction (DOC) confirmed.
The 48-year-old was remanded into custody on a first-degree felony robbery charge on Feb. 27, but online records show Acevedo had also been on parole for second-degree attempted murder.
His cause of death is under investigation with confirmation pending from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. Acevedo was pronounced deceased at Mount Sinai Hospital at approximately 10:59 p.m.
“Mr. Acevedo’s tragic passing is an immense loss,” DOC Commissioner Louis A. Molina said in a statement on Wednesday. “We are conducting a preliminary investigation of this incident. Our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones at this difficult time.”
Acevedo’s passing represents the 14th death in Department of Correction custody this year.
“All deaths in custody are investigated by the State Attorney General’s Office and the NYC Department of Investigation,” according to the DOC press release.
A law enforcement source told Fox News Digital that the incident did not happen at Rikers Island and was not drug related. Acevedo jumped into the East River off the top of the jail barge.
The New York Post, also citing sources, reported that Acevedo climbed a recreation yard fence, then under razor wire and hurled himself five stories downward into the river at about 11:44 a.m. on Tuesday. Internal records cited by the outlet said he refused to take several life preservers tossed to him by jail staffers. He was retrieved from the water about 10 minutes later by the NYPD’s Harbor Unit and was unresponsive. He died 11 hours later at the hospital after initially being listed in critical condition.
Acevedo’s attorney, Warren Silverman, said DOC did not immediately contact him about the incident.
“At this point, I don’t know if they bothered to contact anyone,” Silverman told the outlet. “Once again, their system failed. I mean, he shouldn’t have been able to get to any position where he could have harmed himself, and clearly they dropped the ball, as usual.”
A DOC spokesperson called the incident an “attempted escape,” according to the Post.