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By Samuel Hoffman
As law enforcement personnel watch from a railroad bridge, a FWFD diver retrieves a man who escaped police today at St. Joseph Hospital, fled west on Main Street and jumped in the St. Mary's River.

Man arrested today escapes, jumps in St. Mary's River before recaptured

A Fort Wayne man who was arrested early Thursday after barricading himself in an apartment on Lakeside Drive escaped from police while at St. Joseph Hospital and was eventually caught after he jumped into the St. Mary's River and found himself floating on a log in the river surrounded by police.

Sometime after 1:30 a.m. Thursday police responded to a report of a domestic battery, but when they arrived at an apartment on Lakeside Drive and tried to speak to Tracey Salter, 21, he barricaded himself in an apartment with a rifle and refused to come out, police said.

Police later determined that Salter was wanted on a felony warrant for contempt of court on an attempted robbery charge.

Attempts to contact Salter weren't successful, so the Fort Wayne Police Department's emergency services team used an explosive device to get into the apartment and started calling out to him on a loudspeaker. Salter eventually surrendered peacefully, and a rifle was recovered from the apartment.

Police said Salter was later taken to St. Joseph Hospital for a medical evaluation before being taken to the lockup. While in the hospital, police said, Salter somehow slipped out of his restraints and fled.

Police said they didn't know exactly what kind of restraints were being used, but that Salter would have been accompanied by a police officer the whole time and was never left alone.

A police officer was directly behind Salter as he fled, apparently running into the dock area of Fort Wayne Newspapers before running around the building and down Van Buren Street.

Police had Salter in their view most of the time during the chase, and officers from the city police and the Allen County Sheriff's Department set up a perimeter around the area where he was believed to be. Shortly Salter was spotted hiding in some brush along the south side of the St. Mary's River, so he jumped into the river in an attempt to get away. Once in the river he grabbed onto a floating log and remained there, surrounded by police.

Fire crews were sent to the scene in a boat, and divers put a life jacket on him and brought him to shore.

Police said Salter appeared tired and did not put up any resistance.

Salter reportedly was being interviewed by detectives concerning the events earlier in the night. It wasn't clear what additional charges he might face in that incident or for fleeing the hospital.