Christopher Buggs, 26, had been awaiting trial for a 2018 murder when he was prematurely released 0n Wednesday, 10 March.
Buggs was sentenced to 30 days of time served for an unrelated criminal contempt case, sources said. That sentence was mistakenly listed as the final disposition of his murder case on his paperwork, so Rikers Island staff released him, sources said.
Meanwhile, Buggs was still awaiting trial for the murder of 55-year-old Ernest BrownLee outside a Brooklyn bodega three years ago.
“We are aware of this incident and a full investigation into how this happened is underway, right now we are working with our law enforcement partners to return this individual to custody,” deputy commissioner of public information Peter Thorne said in a statement.
The New York Daily News first reported the clerical mixup.
Mayor Bill de Blasio called the mistaken release ‘very frustrating.’
“We are going to put additional safeguards in place to make sure this never happens again, we are going to get a full review of this immediately and make whatever changes we have to,” de Blasio said during a press briefing on Wednesday.
The mayor said the release was based on a court order in one case connected to Buggs, “but there were other charges obviously, as well, that should have meant he remained incarcerated.”
“In the meantime, we have a high level of confidence that he will be apprehended shortly,” he added.
Buggs of Brooklyn was charged with murder and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon in connection with the fatal shooting of BrownLee on January 29, 2018. The victim was shot several times in his chest. Buggs was arrested several days after the incident.
Buggs is about 5-foot-5 and 160 pounds. In a photo released by police, he has a scar on his left cheek and a dollar-sign tattoo on his neck.