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Corrections Officer Fatally Shot By Fellow Officer While Fighting Inmate Who Disarmed Her In Courthouse

Altoona, PA – A Blair County corrections officer was fatally shot by a fellow officer while struggling with an inmate who disarmed her inside the courthouse Wednesday afternoon.

The incident occurred at approximately 3:15 p.m. at the Blair County Dispatch Center and Central Court building located at 615 Fourth Street, The Patriot-News reported.

Police said an inmate who was inside the building for a court hearing somehow disarmed 47-year-old Blair County Corrections Officer Rhonda Jean Russell, leading to a physical altercation between the inmate and the officer.

An Altoona police officer rushed to her aid and ended up firing a weapon to stop the suspect from attacking the corrections officer, The Patriot-News reported.

The bullet the Altoona police officer fired hit Corrections Officer Russell.

The wounded corrections officer was rushed to WPMC Altoona, where she died of her injuries, The Patriot-News reported.

The Altoona officer involved in the incident has not been identified.

The Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) are handling the ongoing investigation into the fatal officer-involved shooting, The Patriot-News reported.

The inmate’s name has not been released, but the PSP said he is facing charges of criminal homicide, kidnapping, attempted criminal homicide, and other related charges, according to the Altoona Mirror.

PSP Trooper Christopher Fox and Altoona Police Sergeant Matt Plummer said there was no ongoing threat to the neighborhood and that additional information will be released as it becomes available.

The court facility was immediately secured as the attack occurred, and remained closed Wednesday afternoon, the Altoona Mirror reported.

All other local magisterial district judge offices remained open, according to the paper.

This is a developing story and we will keep you updated. For all of our updates, follow us on Facebook and go to your news feed preferences under your settings, then select that you want to see more of The Police Tribune’s posts in your news feed. Otherwise, Facebook may not show you updates.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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