2 Prison Employees Killed, 14 Others Injured In Escape Attempt Using Fire And Hammers

Emergency workers reported over a police scanner that at least one officer had been "struck multiple times with a hammer."

Two prison employees were killed and 14 people were injured on Thursday when inmates at the Pasquotank Correctional Institution in North Carolina attempted to escape. The North Carolina Department of Public Safety said it started after inmates set fire to the prison’s sewing plant.

"The fire and attempted escape happened in the sewing plant," said Keith Acree, a spokesman with the public safety department. "They sew uniforms for state prison inmates ... mostly institutional uniforms."

Justin Smith, 35, and Veronica Darden, 50, were killed in the uprising. Both worked in the sewing plant, according to the New York Times. Emergency workers reported over a police scanner that at least one officer had been “struck multiple times with a hammer,” according to The Charlotte Observer.

“We’re grateful to these fallen prison employees for their service, and we offer our condolences to their families, friends, co-workers and community on this tragic loss,” Gov. Roy Cooper said in a statement.

Three prison additional employees are in critical condition as of Friday morning. Seven others were treated and released. Four inmates have been treated for injuries.

North Carolina’s chief deputy secretary of public safety, W. David Guice, released a statement which said his department would “work closely with investigators to learn the circumstances of today’s incident and bring to justice those responsible.”

The high-security prison had a population of 729 when the attack broke out, according to NBC News. The fires and attacks lasted only hours. Within the same day, the prison was brought back under control. The escape attempt was unsuccessful, and nobody broke out according to authorities.

[Photo: NBC News]

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