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Fugitives in guard shootings ‘dangerous beyond description’

This undated photo released by the Georgia Department of Corrections Tuesday, June 13, 2017, shows inmate Donnie Russell Rowe. Authorities say Rowe and inmate Ricky Dubose escaped after killing two prison guards during a bus transport in Georgia. Both are being sought by law enforcement. (Georgia Department of Law Enforcement via AP)

EATONTON, Ga. (AP) — A manhunt is under way in Georgia for two inmates accused of killing two guards on a prison bus Tuesday morning.

Donnie Russell Rowe, 43, and Ricky Dubose, 24, overpowered and disarmed the two guards around 6:45 a.m. as 33 inmates were being driven between prisons, Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills told reporters. One of the two inmates then shot and killed both guards, Sills said.

“We are still desperately looking for these two individuals. They are armed with 9 mm pistols that were taken from these correctional officers. They are dangerous beyond description. If anyone sees them or comes into contact, they need to call 911 immediately,” the sheriff said.

The FBI said the fugitives were last seen getting into a “grass green,” four-door 2004 Honda Civic with the Georgia license plate number RBJ-6601, and driving west on state Highway 16 toward Eatonton, southeast of Atlanta.

The Georgia Department of Corrections identified the guards as Christopher Monica and Curtis Billue, both officers at Baldwin State Prison. Monica had been with the department since October 2009 and Billue since July 2007.

U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said federal resources are being committed to help catch the fugitives.

“An attack on any American law enforcement officer is an attack on every American law enforcement officer and the principles we all believe in,” Rosenstein told a Senate budget panel in Washington Tuesday morning.

Both men have been serving long sentences for armed robbery and other crimes, according to the Department of Corrections website. Rowe had been in prison since June 2002, and Dubose had been in prison since July 2015.

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This story has been CORRECTED to show sheriff now saying it happened around 6:45 a.m., contradicting times in earlier sheriff’s office statements, and describing the guards’ weapons as 9 mm pistols, not .40-caliber Glock pistols.

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