NC CO ignored being stabbed, chased inmates trying to escape

One of four inmates involved in the attempt is on trial for first-degree murder

Jeff Hampton

PASQUOTANK, NC — A former Pasquotank prison guard pursued and fought with inmates despite getting stabbed three times during a deadly escape attempt two years ago.

Scott Stormer, who testified Tuesday morning in the first-degree murder trial of Mikel Brady in Dare County Superior Court, said he and other officers responded to alarms in the afternoon of Oct. 12, 2017, as four inmates attempted to escape Pasquotank Correctional Institution. Four prison employees were killed and several others wounded during the attempt.

The responding guards found four men beating on a fellow officer with a hammer and fists and stabbing him with scissors.

“He was a bloody mess,” Stormer told the court.

The inmates ran when they saw the approaching officers. Stormer and others pursued them into the open prison yard as the inmates tried to get over fences topped with razor wire. Stormer had only a can of pepper spray and a baton. Guards within the prison do not carry guns.

Inmate Jonathan Monk stopped and lunged toward Stormer, who was able to douse Monk in the face with pepper spray and strike him on the leg with a baton. Stormer felt what he thought was a punch to his back. Monk ran and Stormer continued to pursue.

The inmates were attempting to climb a series of interior fences and make it to the exterior fence. Razor wire topped the interior fences and effectively covered the exterior fence.

Wisezah Buckman got caught in the wire of one fence and hung upside down when Stormer doused him with pepper spray. Buckman fell, got up and ran, still trying to get to the exterior fence.

In minutes, the inmates were surrounded by armed guards.

Brady made it further than the others, but stopped as police with guns called for him to surrender.

He yelled as he stood at the base of the exterior fence, “Shoot me, shoot me,” Stormer testified. Brady was arrested without officers having to fire.

Stormer, who first thought he had been punched in the back, was now bleeding badly from the three stab wounds. Fortunately, the scissors blade had not struck his spinal cord or his kidney. He received stitches and was later released from the hospital. He left his prison job and now works in the food industry in Pennsylvania. Only the scars remain, he said.

“They’re just reminders,” he said. “I’m OK.”

Inmates Brady, Monk, Buckman and Seth J. Frazier are charged with first-degree murder and other crimes. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. Brady is the first to be tried.

Killed were Veronica Darden, 50, head of the sewing plant where the inmates worked, maintenance worker Geoffrey Howe, 31, and corrections officers Justin Smith, 35, and Wendy Shannon, 49.

It is the deadliest prison escape attempt in the state’s history.

The trial is expected to last about two weeks.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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