Vernon Collins and David White
Bed sheets tied together at St. Louis City Justice Center
St. Louis (KSDK) - A man suspected of shooting a police officer and a suspected burglar escaped from the St. Louis City Justice Center in downtown St. Louis.
Police said Vernon Lamont Collins, 34, and David White, 33, removed their yellow corrections jumpsuits prior to escaping from the facility at 200 S. Tucker around 6:55 a.m.
The men were expected to still be wearing white t-shirts, shorts and white tennis shoes. Collins is 6'1" and weighs 170 pounds. White is 6'2" and weighs 180 pounds.
Police and firefighters searched downtown for the suspects. Officers on bicycles and the K-9 units were searching parking garages.
Inmates escape search - PHOTOS
Gene Stubblefield, who works for the justice center, said the men were in the infirmary. They pushed the bunk bed they were assigned to sleep in and put it against the wall. They climbed into the ceiling and were able to gain access to a window. They busted the window out and used bed sheets that were tied together to get down the wall.
Firefighters removed the sheets hanging from the window.
Collins was previously been charged with assault on a law enforcement officer, armed criminal action, assault, resisting arrest and disarming a correctional officer.
Police said Collins was suspected of shooting a St. Louis police officer when they got into a struggle over the officer's gun earlier this year following a stabbing investigation in the 5200 block of St. Louis Avenue. The officer was critically injured in the shooting.
White was previously charged with burglary, domestic assault, unlawful use of a weapon, endangering the welfare of a child and property damage.
Daphne Golden said she was inside the justice center when the commotion began. She noticed the guards were running around, securing doors and elevators. She said she didn't know what to do.
Stubblefield said the preliminary findings indicate procedures were not followed at the justice center. A corrections officer had the chance to eliminate the security of the facility from being compromised and didn't appear to have done that.
St. Louis Police Captain Sam Dotson said they activated units inside and outside the facility as soon as they were notified about the problem.
Capt. Dotson said they are reviewing surveillance video from the facility and nearby businesses. They want to see where they might have gone and if anyone may have been assisting them.
Anyone who sees the men or is contacted by the men is encouraged to call 911.
Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available on NewsChannel 5 and ksdk.com.