Three 16-year-old inmates, including a capital murder suspect, escaped from a Houston, Texas juvenile detention centre early on 15 November after allegedly beating a security officer and stealing his keys. One of the inmates, identified as Alferis Coby, allegedly asked a supervision officer for toiletries shortly after midnight and later attacked the officer.
Tom Brooks, executive director of the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department told reporters that Coby "got the officer to open the door" and then "beat him down pretty badly." The guard, who was not identified, reportedly suffered a black eye and required stitches on his face, NBC News affiliate KPRC reported.
After beating the officer, the teenager took his keys and mobile phone and freed two other inmates, Jahrell West and an unidentified teen. Brooks said that the three were able to escape the detention centre through secure areas. According to ABC13, the guard remained on the floor of the detention area for 45 minutes before he was finally discovered.
KPRC reported that Colby was set to stand trial as an adult for the fatal shooting of a man outside of a nightclub in March. West, who is facing aggravated robbery charges, will be tried as an adult, the director said. Meanwhile, the unnamed third inmate, who is facing robbery charges, will be tried as a minor. The three inmates, who have not been found, were last seen wearing white shirts and khaki trousers, Brooks said.
The injured officer has been released from hospital, NBC News reported. Brooks told reporters that an ongoing investigation is looking into why the officer opened Coby's door alone when protocol dictates guards should open cell doors in pairs. The director added that in the nine years the juvenile detention centre has been open no inmate has managed to escape.