Inmates shoot, kill 2 correctional officers in Georgia

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Corrections officials can not say for sure they did not plan this escape, although they stress the two should not have known they were being transferred Tuesday morning.

"I don't think there's much fear because they're not here anymore", Sills said.

Monica and Billue were both transfer sergeants at Baldwin State Prison.

The US Marshals Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force, FBI and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation are involved in the search, along with several other agencies.

The sheriff's office identified the escaped inmates as Donnie Russell Rowe of middle Tennessee and Ricky Dubose of Madison County, Georgia, and said they were prisoners at Baldwin State Prison.

Cops say the theft may have enabled them to flee the state.

Gov. Nathan Deal said the Putnam County Sheriff's Office is leading the investigation with the help of multiple state, local and federal agencies.

"The selflessness and courage of these two fearless souls will not be forgotten, nor will their sacrifice and service", Deal said in an emailed statement. They are risky beyond description.

Georgia's top prisons official compared the slaying of two prison guards to losing family members. "They murdered two correctional officers", said Sills.

"Please keep the families of our officers in your thoughts and prayers", Jeal Salter, the spokeswoman, said in an email. Dozier said the officers' families are "dealing with it the best they can at this point".

The guards were moving the inmates to a diagnostics centre in Jackson, where their next placement was to be determined, Dozier said, adding that inmates do not know their transfer dates ahead of time.

Both escapees are considered by authorities to be armed with 9mm handguns, the ones taken from the corrections officers after they were shot to death on the bus.

The Putnam County Sheriff's Office can be reached at 706-485-8557, and the Georgia Department of Communications Correction Center is at 478-992-5111.

Sills agreed with reporters that Dubose will have trouble hiding his prominent tattoos, which include crowns above his eyebrows, a star below his right ear and graffiti-style letters all across his neck. Immediately after their escape, they carjacked a green Honda Civic. They were armed with the officers' weapons and are considered extremely risky.

Curtis Billue, 58, had been a guard since 2007 and Christopher Monica, 42, joined the department in 2009.

"I saw two brutally murdered corrections officers", Sills said.

Sills said it's unknown if the men are still together.

The other prisoners were still on the bus, with doors closed, when authorities arrived at the scene, he said. One officer was driving the bus and the other was in a seat adjacent to him.

Two armed inmates have escaped and are considered very unsafe.

Sheriff Sills asked anyone who has any information about the fugitives to call 911.

The bus also is equipped with security cameras, though Sills said authorities already know who killed the guards and reviewing the video Tuesday was not as important as "finding these two escaped, unsafe convicts".

Donnie Russell Rowe (on Right) and Ricky Dubose (on Left) are the suspects.

Sills does not believe the men are still near Madison or Eatonton, which is a relief for his community.

Billue was 58 and is survived by his father, five sisters, two brothers and two sons, said Jim Green, an attorney who's speaking for the Billue family. Authorities said the inmates carjacked the driver of the Honda minutes after shooting the officers. She says a witness saw the men escape in a dark green Honda.

Two guards with long guns watched as the prisoners, wearing cuffs on their ankles and wrists, shuffled toward the transport.

Rowe is serving life without parole for armed robbery, the department of corrections said, and Dubose is serving a 20-year sentence for armed robbery.

The pair stole a second vehicle near the massive Oconee National Forest late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

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