A manhunt is underway for two prisoners after at least one of them shot and killed two corrections officers transporting them on a bus Tuesday morning in central Georgia, authorities said.
Donnie Russell Rowe, 43, and Ricky Dubose, 24, were on a state corrections bus with 31 other inmates when the pair somehow got out of what should have been a locked, gated rear section about 6:45 a.m., officials said.
(A manhunt is underway in Georgia for two escaped inmates suspected of shooting and killing two corrections officers. Courtesy of CBS News and YouTube)
Rowe and Dubose entered the driver’s compartment and overpowered and disarmed Officers Christopher Monica and Curtis Billue while the bus was on the two-lane State Route 16 between Eatonton and Sparta, Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills said.
At least one of the prisoners shot and killed Monica and Billue, Sills said.
Rowe and Dubose carjacked an approaching green 2004 four-door Honda Civic with Georgia license plate RBJ6601.
After forcing the driver out, the two drove west toward Eatonton, Sills said.
(Ga. Sheriff Says Escaped Inmates Still on Run. Courtesy of AP and YouTube)
“I saw two brutally murdered corrections officers; that’s what I saw,” Sill said.
“I have their blood on my shoes.”
Gov. Nathan Deal said the state will use all available resources to track the fugitives down.
“Today, two families lost everything in a heinous and senseless act of violence perpetrated at the hands of cowards,” Deal said.
“Our heartbreak is matched only in our resolve to bring their murderers to justice.”
A $60,000 reward is being offered, the FBI office in Atlanta tweeted.
Bus was going from one prison to another
Monica, 42, and Billue, 58, were transporting the inmates from Hancock State Prison, in adjacent Hancock County, to the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison, some 45 miles west of Eatonton, Georgia Department of Corrections Commissioner Greg Dozier said.
Rowe and Dubose most recently were inmates at Baldwin State Prison in nearby Milledgeville, the corrections department said.
It wasn’t immediately clear why or for how long they were at the Hancock prison, or why they were being taken to the diagnostic prison.
Investigators are trying to determine how Rowe and Dubose got free and reached the officers, Dozier said.
Dubose, 6 feet 1 inches tall and 140 pounds with blue eyes and brown hair, was sentenced up to 20 years in prison for armed robbery, aggravated assault and theft in 2014, the website shows.
He also was convicted of theft and identity fraud in cases from August 2010.
The other prisoners on the bus were taken to the sheriff’s office where about 3 p.m. some of them were put on another corrections department bus.
Two guards with long guns watched as the prisoners, wearing cuffs on their ankles and wrists, shuffled toward the transport.
Eatonton, Putnam County’s seat of government, is about 65 miles southeast of Atlanta.
CNN’s Tina Burnside and Nick Valencia contributed to this report.