Inmates escape after killing 2 officers during prison transport

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Two Georgia inmates are armed and on the run after one of them shot and killed two Georgia State Correctional Officers, officials said.

Two state prisoners overpowered the correctional officers who were driving a transport bus along Georgia State Route 16 between Eatonton and Sparta in Putnam County at around 6:45 a.m. Tuesday, about 80 miles southeast of Atlanta, according to the Putnam County Sheriff's Office.

One corrections officer had been driving the large bus and the second officer was sitting up front, according to officials.

The prisoners breached a protective gate on the bus to reach the officers, before disarming and killing them both, the sheriff's office said.

The sheriff's office identified the escaped inmates as Donnie Russell Rowe of middle Tennessee and Ricky Dubose of Madison County, Georgia, and said they were prisoners at Baldwin State Prison.

It is unclear at this time whether specifically Rowe or Dubose shot and killed the two correctional officers.

Thirty-one other inmates were on board the bus, which was heading to a diagnostic facility at the time the escape took place, and have provided assistance to investigators, officials said.

Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills, appearing emotional at a news conference Tuesday afternoon, described the inmates as "dangerous beyond description."

"I saw two brutally murdered corrections officers," Sills said. "I have their blood on my shoes."

Following the incident on the bus, Rowe and Dubose, armed with the officers' .40 caliber Glock pistols, allegedly carjacked a Honda Civic from a resident who was driving by, and then fled west toward Eatonton, the sheriff's office said.

Later Tuesday afternoon, the escaped prisoners are suspected to have committed a residential burglary, according to the sheriff's office.

The incident took place at around 2 p.m., they said, and the house where the alleged burglary took place was ransacked, with food and clothing taken from the premises.

The sheriff's office said Tuesday afternoon that authorities didn't know what the prisoners are wearing and believed that they most likely had shed their prison uniforms.

Rowe is serving life without parole for armed robbery, the department of corrections said, and Dubose is serving a 20-year sentence for armed robbery.

The slain Baldwin State Prison officers were Christopher Monica, 42, who was hired in 2009, and Curtis Billue, 58, who was hired in 2007, Georgia Corrections said. Officials said their families are "distraught."

"Both officers were known for their unwavering commitment to their job and their love of family," the Georgia Department of Corrections said in a statement.

Georgia Department of Corrections Commissioner Gregory Dozier said, "Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the loss of two of our officers, who are our family, and our priority is to locate these fugitives and bring them to justice for this heinous act against those working to protect the public."

Dubose is described as a white man with blue eyes and brown hair, standing at 6 feet 1 inches tall and weighing 140 pounds.

Rowe is described as a white man with blue eyes and brown hair, standing at 6 feet 1 inches tall and weighing 181 pounds.

Dubose and Rowe's stolen car was initially described as a green 2004 Honda Civic with Georgia license plate RBJ6601, but as of Wednesday, police believe the suspects may have also stolen a white 2008 Ford F-250 truck with Georgia license plate BCX5372.

A cash reward of $90,000 is now being offered for anyone who provides information leading to the arrest of Dubose and Rowe.

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