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Tributes planned for Georgia corrections officers killed on prison bus

Tributes planned for Georgia corrections officers killed on prison bus

ATLANTA (AP) - Two Georgia inmates who killed their guards and escaped from a prison bus have stolen a second vehicle as they try to stay ahead of a massive manhunt, a sheriff said Wednesday.

Authorities say it appears Donnie Rowe and Ricky Dubose hid the vehicle, ransacked a house and fled in a pickup truck.

"We need the eyes and ears really of anybody in this country to be on the lookout", Sills said. "These are serious, unsafe hoodlums that need to be apprehended".

The escapees later stole a 2008 white-colored Ford F-250 pickup truck with the Georgia license plate BCX 5372. "They murdered two correctional officers", said Sills.

The other inmates have been questioned and a camera on the bus recorded the guards being shot, but corrections officials have not explained to the public how the pair managed to get through the inmate compartment's normally locked door.

Protocol is to have two armed corrections officers on the bus, but the officers don't wear bullet-proof vests during transfers, Corrections Commissioner Greg Dozier said.

NY correction officers and many other law-enforcement agencies were involved in a massive search here for Richard Matt and David Sweat that lasted more than three weeks.

The duo snatched and tossed the cellphone of the Honda driver and left the remaining 31 inmates stocked inside the bus, Sills added.

Sills was asleep when he got the call but was at the scene within minutes since he lives just four miles away.

Putnam County sheriff's deputy David Gunter was the first to arrive at the prison bus idling on the side of Georgia Highway 16 between Sparta and and Eatonton Tuesday morning.

Dubose and Rowe's stolen auto was initially described as a green 2004 Honda Civic with Georgia license plate RBJ6601, but as of Wednesday, police believe the suspects may have also stolen a white 2008 Ford F-250 truck with Georgia license plate BCX5372.

That's where the trail goes cold.

Dubose, who was serving a 20-year prison sentence at the time of his escape, likely will not have an easy time hiding in a crowd: His neck is covered with hard-to-miss tattoos, with more ink drawings, in the shape of a crown, engraved over his eyebrows.

Dubose has tattoos on his body that are related to the Ghost Face Gangsters, a white supremacy gang, Sills said.

The sheriff was asked whether the prison gang or its associates could be helping the fugitives elude capture.

A trooper was dispatched and they were able to issue a description and a tag number within an hour. "If somebody is helping them and we find out who they are, they will be prosecuted as participants in this crime, there's no doubt about that".

They are wanted and unsafe beyond measure.

The deceased security guards were Christopher Monica, a strapping 42-year-old man, and Curtis Billue, 58, an experienced and highly-regarded prison worker.

"Both officers were known for their unwavering commitment to their job and their love of family", the Georgia Department of Corrections said in a statement. "Sgt. Billue leaves behind two sisters, five brothers, a father and some children". According to Sills, the duo burglarized an apartment and then two men that fitted their descriptions were seen around a Family Dollar store nearby. "We can not replace them", he said.

NEWS 3 UPDATE: The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is offering a $60,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of these escapees. "He said he feared the killers, armed with the officers' semiautomatic handguns, would kill again".

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