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Pasquotank Correctional Institution employees Veronica Darden, Justin Smith killed in inmate escape attempt

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ELIZABETH CITY, N.C.: Two prison employees died when a few prisoners tried to flee the prison facility in Elizabeth City in North Carolina Thursday. While the two prison employees lost their lives, the prisoners’ efforts to flee the scene completely failed and not a single inmate could flee the heavily guarded facility.

The two prison employees who lost their lives in the freak incidents have been identified and their identities made public. Officials claim that the two employees died when the inmates at a sewing plant started fire in order to flee the facility.

The two employees have been identified the two as officer Justin Smith and Correction Enterprises manager Veronica Darden. How the two lost their lives hasn’t been revealed as yet.

Authorities have said that the incident happened at the Pasquotank Correctional Institution in Elizabeth City. While two officers lost their lives, authorities claim many others also sustained injuries in the same incident.

While giving details about the two officers who lost their lives at the Pasquotank Correctional Institution in Elizabeth City, North Carolina Department of Public Safety in a statement said: “Correctional Officer Justin Smith, 35, provided security in the Correction Enterprises Specialty Sewing Plant. He had worked as a correctional officer since 2012. Correction Enterprises Manager Veronica Darden, 50, supervised inmates working in the Specialty Sewing Plant. She had been a Correction Enterprises employee since 2007 and previously worked as a correctional officer.”

Reports suggest that at least three prison employees are still in critical condition, while seven were treated and released. Four inmates were also injured in the attempted prison break.

In a statement released to the media, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said, “Those who work in our prisons do a difficult and demanding job that is critical to our safety. We’re grateful to these fallen prison employees for their service, and we offer our condolences to their families, friends, coworkers and community on this tragic loss.”

In the meantime while expressing his shock at the deaths, W. David Guice, chief deputy secretary of the Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice said, “Our hearts are broken by this tragedy that took members of our Correction family…Words cannot express our deep sorrow. We will work closely with investigators to learn the circumstances of today’s incident and bring to justice those responsible.”

Authorities claim that the correctional facility houses 729 inmates. Correction Enterprises, which works within the department, operates a sewing plant on site. Three of the 10 patients sent to the Sentara Albemarle Medical Center were transferred to the Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in Virginia, said Sentara Healthcare spokesperson Peter J. Sengenberger in a statement. This is one of the worst such incidents to happen in the state.



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