ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WAVY) — New numbers released by the North Carolina Department of Public Safety indicate there was a shortage of officers during an attempted prison break last month.
10 On Your Side has learned that, at the time of the incident, there were 75 vacant officer openings at the Pasquotank Correctional Institution — and another seven officers were on extended leave.
Prison officials tell 10 On Your Side there should have been 266 officers working that month, but there was only 191. That’s compared to a little more than 300 in 2016.
Officials have not said how many officers were working at the prison during the incident. Since the incident, two officers and one maintenance mechanic have left the prison.
Several inmates tried to escape the prison after the fire started, but were unsuccessful. Four inmates have since been charged with first-degree murder.
Veronica Darden and Justin Smith were killed that day, and several other staff and officers were sent the hospital. Shannon, 49, passed away Monday night.
Her family says she was a wonderful person. She has worked in the prison system for the past four years.