Two correctional officers shot dead in Putnam County, suspects burglarize Madison home
UPDATE 6:10 p.m. - Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills confirmed that there is evidence Rowe and Dubose burglarized a home in Madison, Ga. around 2 p.m. on Tuesday.
Sills said they took food from the home and possibly clothes.
Morgan County Sheriff Robert Markley stated that the two were later spotted at the Family Dollar near the burglarized home on Eatonton Road in Madison around 2:30 p.m.
Authorities searched a nearby wooded area and motel. Now they will regroup at a command post and follow any leads they have.
PUTNAM COUNTY, Ga -- Two correctional officers are dead after being shot in Putnam County Monday morning.
According to Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills in a statement, Donnie Russell Rowe and Ricky Dubose overpowered the two guards while on a Georgia State Prison bus traveling on Highway 16 between Eatonton and Sparta.
The men then took the guards' guns and shot them to death.
The Georgia Department of Corrections later identified the officers as Christopher Monica, 42, and Curtis Billue, 58. Monica was hired in 2009 and Billue was hired in 2007. Both worked for the Baldwin State Prison.
After killing the two officers, Rowe and Dubose carjacked a green 2004 Honda Civic with the Georgia tag number RBJ660 and fled toward Eatonton.
Both men are now armed with the officers' .40 caliber Glock pistols.
Russell, 43, is described as a 6'1" white male weighing 181 pounds. Dubose, 24, is described as a 6'1 white male weighing 140 pounds.
According to the Georgia Department of Corrections' inmate search, Russell was incarcerated for armed robbery in Bibb County in 2001. His maximum release date is life without parole.
Dubose was also incarcerated for armed robbery in 2014 in Elbert County. His maximum possible release date is Sept. 3, 2034.
Georgia Department of Corrections Commissioner Greg Dozier said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon that one of the two men is a known and validated gang member.
Anyone who comes in contact with the two men is urged to call 911 immediately.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation Atlanta Field Office confirmed via Twitter Tuesday afternoon that a $60,000 reward is in place for information leading to the capture of the escaped inmates. Multiple agencies contributed towards the reward, according to Nelly Miles with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Sheriff Sills said that the two men are "dangerous beyond description."
He also said that it is not clear exactly how the prisoners were able to escape off of the bus and that when authorities responded, the remaining 31 inmates that were on the bus were still locked in the bus' secured section.
"My biggest worry is that they are going to kill someone else," Sills said.
He said that he is fairly certain that the men are not still in Putnam County, but said that there are dozens of law enforcement agencies across the area currently engaged in locating the fugitives.
"We are searching everywhere in America," he said.
Sills also said that as of about 1 p.m., there were no reported sightings of the two men.
"They need to surrender before we find them," he added.
According to ABC News, U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said during testimony before a Senate panel on Tuesday morning that federal resources are being committed to help catch the fugitives.
"An attack on any American law enforcement officer is an attack on every American law enforcement officer and the principles we all believe in," he said.
According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, two other officers and one K-9 have died in the line of duty this year in Georgia.
At about noon Tuesday, the Oconee County Sheriff's Office posted a statement to their Facebook page asking the two fugitives to turn themselves in.
"Donnie and Ricky,
I hope you are reading this. What is done is done. However, I am asking you to surrender yourselves to the nearest law enforcement officer as soon as possible. You made your escape, but you won't be out long. Every lawman in the Southeast is looking for you. Every citizen in the Southeast is looking for you. You may have help hiding out for a few days, but someone is going to snitch you out and then we will find you. There is no one you can trust...and no where you can go that we won't find you. You murdered two prison guards and carjacked a taxpayer. Why wait, spending hours and days looking over your shoulder and wondering when we will kick the door in. Stop now, dial 911 and turn yourself in peacefully."
Eatonton residents said their town is usually quiet, but Tuesday's events put them on edge.
"I'm afraid because you don't know where they are," said Marcus Fitch. "They could be in my hometown because I-20 is right up the road or anywhere. I hope the police get them before they kill anyone else."
"Very scared," said Crystal Cannon. "My son's been on lock down on summer vacation because I don't want my kids running around the street you know because you never know where these guys are at you know? And obviously they don't care about their lives. Why would they care about any body else's? They have already taken two."
Stay with us for updates.