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A prison inmate who escaped from a northeast Texas jail was fatally shot by an Arkansas police officer after the inmate tussled with another officer attempting to take him into custody, according to authorities.
Per ABC News, the inmate, 30-year-old Michael D. Olson, was one of two who were discovered missing early Monday from the Bowie County jail annex in Texarkana, Texas, a city on the state’s border with Arkansas about 165 miles northeast of Dallas.
Olson and Wayde Land escaped by breaking through a cinder block wall on the second floor of the facility, then maneuvering through perimeter fencing and barbed wire, the Bowie County Sheriff’s Office said.
Prison Escape Plan Goes Awry Quickly.
The sheriff said video footage later captured the pair climbing onto a train. Later at about 1 p.m. on Monday, two Texarkana, Arkansas, police officers encountered the inmates and attempted to take them into custody, Arkansas State Police said.
According to them, Olson then tried to grab an officer’s gun, causing it to fire, so the other police officer fatally shot him.
Wayde Land was taken into custody, authorities said.
The shooting occurred about 2 miles south of the jail annex, the Texarkana Gazette reported. Olson was being held on a felony assault and probation violation charge while Land, 38, was jailed on burglary and drug charges, police said.
Due to high stress, limited promotions, unpredictable work conditions among other factors, many county and federal prisons are a revolving door not only for inmates, but staff. Over the past 18 months, 29 prisoners have escaped from federal lockups across the U.S. — and nearly half still have not been caught according to AP News.
The Bureau of Prisons has been plagued by chronic violence, significant security issues and persistent staffing shortages for years. The AP reported last month that nearly one-third of federal correctional officer jobs in the United States are vacant, forcing prisons to use cooks, teachers, nurses and other workers to guard inmates.
Changes in federal prisons have been assisted by the First Step Act, however, much more remains needed to reform the system for the general population’s protection inside and out of prison walls.