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Escaped white supremacist inmate, accomplice caught in US

By AFP

March 22, 2024 02:13 PM


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A white supremacist who was sprung from custody in a hospital shoot-out that left three prison staff wounded was back in jail Thursday after a huge manhunt in the US state of Idaho.

Detectives say the escapee and his accomplice were arrested after a brief police chase and were being connected to two homicides that appear to have occurred since the violent jailbreak early Wednesday.

Police had warned the public not to approach Skylar Meade -- a member of the violent Aryan Knights gang -- or Nicholas Umphenour, with both men considered armed and dangerous.

The drama erupted when Meade -- who was jailed in 2016 for attacking a law enforcement officer -- was taken to a hospital for treatment of apparently self-inflicted wounds.

Boise Police Department said as Meade was being escorted out of the medical facility gunfire erupted, seemingly from inside the hospital's emergency department.

Umphenour -- who had previously been in prison alongside Meade -- allegedly shot two prison officers, leaving one critically wounded, before the two men fled.

Moments later, responding police officers opened fire on another prison officer, mistakenly believing him to be involved.

"This brazen, violent and apparently coordinated attack on Idaho Department of Corrections personnel, to facilitate an escape of a dangerous inmate, was carried out right in front of the emergency department," said Boise Police Chief Ron Winegar.

Winegar said officers had rushed into the emergency department, believing Umphenour to be inside, locking down the hospital as they searched.

The manhunt was extended to encompass the Twin Falls area of Idaho, around 110 miles (180 kilometers) from Boise, where the two men were located on Thursday afternoon.

"There was a short vehicle pursuit and the suspects were taken into custody separately," Winegar said. "There were no shots fired."

Police gave no further details on the homicides that were being connected to the two men.

Meade had been due to be released from prison in 2036, but is now expected to face further charges.

No details were immediately available about Umphenour's criminal past.

Winegar said all three wounded prison staff are expected to make a full recovery.

The US Department of Justice says the Aryan Knights are a white supremacist and white separatist prison gang with over 100 members, founded in the 1990s.

"The AK has used violence and the threat of violence to target non‑white inmates and other targeted inmates," the Justice Department said in a 2021 press release.

The AK also has used drug trafficking, extortion and gambling to generate revenue, it said.


AFP


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