Law enforcement across the state and beyond are looking for two escaped prisoners who allegedly shot and killed two state corrections officers in Putnam County.
In an emotional news conference Tuesday afternoon, Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills called two prisoners "dangerous beyond description."
He says Donnie Russell Rowe, 43, and Ricky Dubose, 24, overpowered the two Georgia State Correctional Officers, and shot them. Then they stopped a passing car and stole it.
It happened around 6:45 a.m. Tuesday on Highway 16 in Putnam.
A post on the Oconee County Sheriff's Office Facebook page states that the City of Madison PD says the inmates broke into a residence there and got clothes, left their prison whites, and made their escape from there. The inmates and their vehicle have not been recovered.
Sills and the state Department of Corrections identified the murdered officers as
- Christopher Monica, age 42, an eight-year veteran of the department;
- and Curtis Billue, age 58, a 10-year veterans.
Greg Dozier of the state corrections department said Monica and Billue were both good officers who left families behind.
"They're gonna murder somebody else'
Both suspects are now armed with the officers' 9-mm guns, according to Sills.
Dozier said Rowe, Dubose and 31 other prisoners were being moved on what he called a routine transport, not a work detail.
Two officers were on the state bus, which is standard protocol, he said.
The two inmates somehow got through the locked gate between the passengers and the driver, he said. The two officers were not wearing protective vests.
They're still investigating how the pair got free and overpowered the guards, according to Sills and Dozier.
The other 31 inmates remained on the bus and some are cooperating with investigators.
Sills called the two men "dangerous beyond description" and said anybody who knows their whereabouts should call 911.
"My biggest concern is that they're gonna murder somebody else," said Sills.
Officers search for 'grass-green' Honda Civic
The carjacked car is a "grass-green" 2004 Honda Civic, license plate RBJ-6601.
Donnie Rowe, the older of the two escaped prisoners has the more violent history.
Rowe was being held for life without the possibility of parole for multiple armed robbery convictions in Bibb County from October 2001.
He was also convicted on multiple aggravated assault charges and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.
The second inmate, Ricky Dubose, was being held on a single armed robbery conviction from 2014 in Elbert, along with convictions for credit card fraud, financial identity fraud, theft by taking,, burglary, robbery and a single conviction for entering a vehicle.
At least one of the suspects is a suspected gang member, although Dozier would not identify him.
Suspects may be outside area
"We are searching everywhere in America,' said Sills. "They could be headed anywhere."
But he said they are "relatively certain" the two men are outside Putnam County by now.
Sills told reporters that he was among the first officers on the scene Tuesday.
His voice shaking, he said, "I had their blood on my shoes."