Search for inmates who killed two guards during escape from prison bus
Two US inmates serving long prison sentences and "dangerous beyond description" overpowered and killed two guards on a prison bus before fleeing in a stolen car, authorities said.
The deadly escape happened on Tuesday morning in the state of Georgia as the guards drove 33 inmates between prisons, and it set off a massive manhunt involving local, state and federal officers, Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills said.
Mr Sills was emotional as he described the scene.
"I saw two brutally murdered corrections officers, that's what I saw," he said.
"I have their blood on my shoes."
Donnie Russell Rowe, serving life without parole, and Ricky Dubose, who has prominent tattoos on his face and neck, overpowered, disarmed and killed Sergeant Christopher Monica and Sergeant Curtis Billue and then carjacked a driver who happened to pull up behind the bus on a rural highway, Mr Sills said.
"We are still desperately looking for these two individuals," the sheriff said.
"They are armed with 9mm pistols that were taken from these correctional officers.
"They are dangerous beyond description.
"If anyone sees them or comes into contact, they need to call 911 immediately."
The two inmates got a head start by taking and throwing away the Honda driver's mobile phone and leaving the other 31 prisoners locked inside the bus, Mr Sills said.
"My biggest worry is they're going to kill somebody else," Mr Sills said.
Later on Tuesday, the manhunt shifted about 25 miles to the north to the city of Madison, where Mr Sills said the two men burgled a house and then two men fitting their descriptions were reportedly seen in a Family Dollar store less than a mile away.
Authorities had no further signs of the inmates and had no reason to believe they had split up, Mr Sills said.
Multiple agencies contributed to a reward of 60,000 US dollars for information leading to the arrests of the two inmates, Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Nelly Miles said.
How the two inmates managed to reach and overpower the guards remains under investigation, Mr Sills said.
"They were inside the caged area of the bus," he said.
""How they got through the locks and things up to that area I do not know."
US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said federal resources are being committed to help catch the fugitives.
The FBI and US Marshals have joined the investigation, Mr Sills said.
Both escaped inmates were serving long sentences for armed robbery and other crimes.
The Department of Corrections said Rowe, 43, has been serving life without parole since 2002, and Dubose, 24, began a 20-year sentence in 2015.
"They need to surrender before we find 'em," Mr Sills said.