SANTA FE, N.M. — Hundreds of law officers helped by helicopters scoured the countryside Sunday for two convicted murderers and five other inmates who escaped from a state prison in a carefully planned breakout.
Roadblocks were set up around Santa Fe, and state police and National Guard helicopters scanned the landscape after the prisoners escaped Saturday night from the Penitentiary of New Mexico.
And at a news conference, Gov. Garrey E. Carruthers issued a "shoot to kill" order for searchers. "These are very, very dangerous inmates," said Don Caviness, a Corrections Department spokesman.
Killer Pulled a Gun
The escape began about 9 p.m. when convicted murderer William Wayne Gilbert, who was out of his cell mopping floors, pulled a gun on a guard at the prison's maximum-security North Facility, authorities said.
Gilbert then used the guard to enter the prison control center, where he shot the lone officer on duty and opened the cell doors of the six other inmates, corrections officer Robert Greeney said.
The inmates went through an emergency door in the control center to the roof, where they reached a wall behind the prison, walking along its top before using a pole next to the wall to vault over a barbed-wire fence.
The prison's guard tower, from which the area is visible, had been staffed only from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily due to financial restrictions, Caviness said.
Death Commuted to Life
Gilbert was sentenced to death in 1980 for the slaying of an Albuquerque couple. His sentence and those of the state's four other Death Row inmates were commuted to life in prison last November by former Gov. Toney Anaya.
Corrections Secretary O. Lane McCotter said the escapees included Robert Earl Davis, a former Albuquerque policeman serving time for burglaries, escape and assault; Jimmy Kinslow, serving three life sentences for the slayings of a 38-year-old Chaparral woman and her two daughters, and David Gallegos, serving 118 years for 10 armed robberies.
The remaining escapees were identified as Michael Schmidt, Michael Romero and Hector Herman Torres, but no further information was released on them.
The wounded officer, Todd Wilson, was shot in the shoulder and was listed in good condition Sunday.