Correctional officer recalls failed inmate escape attempt at Pasquotank Correctional Institution

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C - Officer Scott Stormer was working his normal shift in unit four at the Pasquotank Correctional Institution when he heard the call asking all available officers to respond.

"[The] alarm went off first and then we heard the code called on the intercom to respond to the fire at the warehouse," Stormer said.

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Officials with the North Carolina Department of Public Safety say inmates at the Pasquotank Correctional Institution started a fire around 3 p.m. in the facility’s Specialty Sewing Plant, where about 30 inmates work producing embroidered logo items, safety vests and other sewn items. After the fire was set, several inmates attempted to escape.

Without hesitation, Stormer and a dozen other officers ran to stop the prisoners from escaping.

"We saw there was an officer down in the warehouse and we also saw four inmates running out the back loading dock outside to the yard. That's when we pursued them."

Stormer was injured in the incident.

"I got hit in the back, you know like someone hits you in the back, and he probably hit and hit again," Stormer said. "I was dealing with one inmate and the other one came up behind me and stabbed me in the back three times," Stormer said.

The inmates were captured, but Correctional Officer Justin Smith and Correction Enterprises Manager Veronica Darden were killed and several others were injured during the attempted escape.

Stormer was put in the back of an ambulance with the same guard he saw in the warehouse.

"He was coherent and I reassured him we were going to be okay."

Stormer is now home, but says he thinks constantly about two of his coworkers who will never go home.

"[They were] two great wonderful people who didn't deserve that," Stormer said.

Smith provided security in the Correction Enterprises Specialty Sewing Plant and had worked as a correctional officer since 2012. Darden supervised inmates at the Specialty Sewing Plant for the last 10 years and previously worked as a correctional officer.

Stormer fears what could have happened if the escape had been a success.

"If they had gotten out to the general public if they were willing to do to us, imagine what they would do to somebody on the street."

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