Longview police call off search for Florida fugitive; release ne - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Longview police call off search for Florida fugitive; release new photos


Police say there are no new leads in the search for a wanted fugitive who escaped custody in Florida and was later spotted in Longview.

On Thursday, Longview Police Department Chief Mike Bishop said the search had been called off.

"After our leads were exhausted today, we terminated the search and are continuing to follow up on information that we learned about (Michael) Rotunno coming back here to the Longview area. We’re going to continue to search for Rotunno," Bishop said.

Multiple agencies have been searching for Michael Andrew Rotunno, 30, who escaped a prison transport van in the Florida panhandle on Monday.

Rotunno has a history of burglary and drug arrests. Arrested in January in Gregg County, and again on April 1, Rotunno was being transported to Florida by a private prisoner transport company when he escaped. He was en route back to Michigan, where he was on parole. Rotunno was wanted for violation of parole, stemming from a larceny of a building conviction in 2012 out of Kent County, Michigan. He was released on parole in 2014.

Bishop said he is now wanted out of Walton County, Florida on a charge of escape and a warrant of extradition.

Police say Rotunno is about 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighs about 155 pounds. He has brown hair that is cut short. Rotunno may also have scratches or abrasions on his arms. The suspect has several tattoos on his upper and lower arms, across his chest, and on his side.

The chief described the search for the fugitive, saying that on April 5 Rotunno was captured on a Longview surveillance camera, leading officials to believe he had returned to the area.

A day later, a local fisherman spotted a partially submerged truck in Lake Lamond, off of Lake Lamond Boulevard. Officers recovered that vehicle and confirmed that it was reported stolen out of the Jackson, Mississippi area. Officials believe Rotunno may have stolen the vehicle.

On Thursday, Rotunno was spotted near McCann Road in Longview. Three agencies, emergency helicopters, and K9 crews began searching for him in the area.

About 11:30 a.m., police moved their search to an area near Brown Street. Twenty minutes later the search was moved off that area, but some officers remain there in case he's spotted.

Bramlette Elementary took extra precautions while the search was ongoing in the area, but the school was not on full lockdown, according to school officials. The Kilgore College Longview campus, which is near the search area, was also temporarily placed on lockdown. 

Police say that there have been no new reports and no new sightings.

"While Rotunno does not have a violent past, caution should be used if a citizen sees Rotunno," Bishop said. "And call 911 immediately."

If you see someone fitting this description please call Longview police at 903-237-1199 immediately.

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