A corrections officer in Pennsylvania was shot and killed Wednesday after she was disarmed by an inmate, and a law enforcement officer attempting to aid her fired a weapon, striking the officer, police said.
According to Pennsylvania state police, the corrections officer, Rhonda Jean Russell, was disarmed by the inmate in a court building Altoona, Pennsylvania, which led to a struggle.
“The known suspect, who is a prisoner from the Blair County Jail, was at Central Court for Court proceedings when he disarmed the victim, Corrections Officer Rhonda Jean RUSSELL, of her firearm and a struggle ensued,” state police wrote in a description of the incident.
A law enforcement officer on the scene attempted to help Russell, discharging a firearm in an attempt to stop the inmate from hurting the correctional officer, police said.
“A law enforcement officer within the Court building responded to the
struggle and subsequently discharged his firearm at the suspect to stop him from harming RUSSELL,” Pennsylvania State Police stated.
But Russell was struck.
“The suspect was taken into custody, at the scene, while life saving measures were performed on RUSSELL,” police wrote.
Russell was later pronounced dead at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Altoona.
According to police, the inmate, who has yet to been identified, has been charged with homicide, attempted homicide, kidnapping and “other related charges.”
They say that the investigation is ongoing.
Penn Live reported that during the incident, an Altoona police officer had arrived on the scene in an attempt to aid Russell.
In a statement made on social media Wednesday afternoon, police in Altoona said that there had been “an officer involved shooting today at approximately 3:12pm.”
“The investigation was immediately handed over to the Pennsylvania State Police. Details of the incident will be released by PA State Police as the investigation progresses. Thank you,” the department wrote on Facebook.
The Altoona Mirror reported that residents in the area were shocked by the shooting on Wednesday.
“It’s not a surprise that a shooting like this could happen, but it’s really unusual for this to happen at the justice’s office,” one resident said in an interview with the newspaper.
“Growing up, this part of town used to be really safe,” another resident told the Altoona Mirror. “Not anymore,” they added.
Newsweek has reached out to the Pennsylvania State Police for comment and any updates regarding the investigation, but did not hear back before publication on Thursday afternoon.