The Latest: Governor orders new safety steps at NC prisons
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ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. — The Latest on an attempted escape from a North Carolina prison that killed two employees (all times local):
North Carolina's governor is ordering extra safety measures after an attempted prison breakout left two corrections officers dead and a dozen other prison workers and inmates injured.
Gov. Roy Cooper on Friday suspended the inmate work program at Pasquotank Correctional Institution in Elizabeth City, the scene of Thursday's attempted escape by four inmates. Authorities said the inmates started a fire in a prison sewing operation where they worked to divert guards and allow their escape.
Cooper also ordered increased officers in areas where inmates work and a safety review of all inmate work programs.
Deputy state prisons director Annie Harvey says the four inmates suspected in the escape plot were treated for injuries Thursday and transferred to a high-security prison near Raleigh. She says criminal charges are pending.
The sheriff investigating two deaths and a dozen injuries at a North Carolina prison says inmates plotted an attempted escape knowing they would have to hurt some prison employees.
Pasquotank County Sheriff Randy Cartwright said Friday that investigators believe four inmates planned their breakout by starting a fire inside a sewing plant to divert guards, then running through a loading dock to reach the fence. The plot was foiled and all inmates have since been accounted for.
Two other workers at the Pasquotank Correctional Institution in Elizabeth City were in critical condition and one in fair condition Friday.
Cartwright says stabbing or slashing wounds predominated. He says some people suffered smoke inhalation, but the fire didn't cause seriously burns. The sheriff says none of the injured suffered gunshot wounds, but wouldn't say whether guards fired on inmates to stop the attempted breakout.
Authorities have identified two employees killed during an attempted inmate escape from a North Carolina prison.
The state Department of Public Safety says in a news release 35-year-old Justin Smith and 50-year-old Veronica Darden were killed Thursday during the attempted breakout from Pasquotank Correctional Institution in Elizabeth City.
Authorities say Smith was a correctional officer at the prison's sewing plant, where Darden trained inmates. Details of their deaths weren't released.
Prison officials say inmates started a fire at the prison sewing plant. Authorities said three other employees remained hospitalized, and four inmates were treated for injuries.
The prison houses nearly 900 adult, male felons in both high-security and minimum-custody buildings. Minimum-security prisoners work outside the walls on road gangs for the county recycling department and performing other community