Cocke Co. inmate in custody after being placed on TBI Wanted list
UPDATE 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017:
An inmate on the run after escaping the Cocke County Court House Jail has been taken into custody without injury.
The Cocke County Sheriff’s Office said Ezekiel Thompson, 25, was captured around 5:35 p.m. Thursday.
Officers got information from a caller that Thompson was walking through an alleyway. Authorities were in the area which made it difficult for him to escape. Sheriff Armando Fontes and Deputy Aaron Loveday captured Thompson after a short foot chase, according to the sheriff's office.
The Cocke County Sheriff's Office is looking for an inmate considered to be dangerous that escaped from jail Thursday morning.
According to the CCSO, 25-year-old Ezekiel Thompson escaped from the Court House Jail after he and another inmate assaulted and seriously injured a corrections officer around 5:25 Thursday morning. Sheriff Armando Fontes said the officer had to get 20 staples in his head, and it was his first day on the job. The other officer was a few weeks into the job, Sheriff Fontes said.
Sheriff Fontes praised the seriously hurt officer for keeping the other inmate, whom Fontes called "more dangerous," from escaping.
Sheriff Fontes said the officers should never have let out two inmates at once. He said corrections officers do go through training. Sheriff Fontes did not talk about penalties, but he did speak to the issues his department faces. He said they are understaffed and overcrowded.
"It goes back to retaining good employees and retaining educated employees that know how to handle situations," Sheriff Fontes said.
This is the second inmate escape from Cocke County in 2017. In August an inmate ran out of the jail on a food delivery. In December 2016, six inmates escaped from the annex jail across the street from the courthouse jail from which Thompson escaped. A federal lawsuit filed in September says the jail lost its certification.
Sheriff Fontes hopes the public and the commission will hear his pleas for more help and resources.
"Citizens want justice but the citizens need to understand we need their support," Sheriff Fontes said.
The TBI has added Thompson to its Top Ten Most Wanted List, who faces charges of Felony Escape, Aggravated Assault and Reckless Endangerment. A reward of $2,500 is being offered to anyone with information leading to his arrest.
Deputies said Thompson took the officer's keys and ran from the jail. The second inmate remains in custody.
Thompson recently shaved his hair off while in jail and was last seen wearing a black and white striped uniform. He also has a cast on his left arm after officers said he intentionally broke it a month ago in order to get out of jail for medical reasons.
Thompson was last seen around 8th Street in Newport. The CCSO said he should be considered dangerous and anyone with information is asked to call the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND or Cocke County Dispatch at (423) 623-3064.