Six inmates were on the loose Tuesday after at least a dozen escaped from a county jail in Washington state on Monday night, officials said.
"ALERT! Several prisoners have escaped from the Yakima County Jail in Downtown Yakima," said a Facebook post from the city of Yakima on Monday. The post added that residents in certain areas of the city should remain indoors and call police if they see any suspicious activity.
The inmates were able to escape by breaking open an exterior fire door using a table from inside an annex, authorities shared. Once they got outside the building, they jumped a fence.
"Officers were able to capture 6 inmates and get them back into custody. 6 inmates were able to escape," said a news release from the Yakima County Department of Corrections.
"They decided they were going to break down the door and leave," said Yakima County Sheriff Robert Udell in a video posted on Facebook. "Despite the governor’s shelter-in-place or stay-at-home order, apparently they didn’t want to do that so they are out and about."
"We need your help to get these guys back in custody cause we don’t know what they’re going to be doing when we haven’t got our eyes on them," the sheriff said.
According to NBC affiliate KNDU, Udell said that the men likely escaped because they grew fearful after Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday issued a stay-at-home proclamation for everyone in the state amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Forty-one people in the county are confirmed or presumed to have the coronavirus, according to the Yakima Health District.
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Ed Campbell, the director of the Yakima County Department of Corrections told NBC News that the jail is strictly following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health department protocols.
Four inmates have been tested for coronavirus and were all negative, Campbell said. None of the about 800 inmates or staff have tested positive. "We are continuing to monitor all in-custody inmates and if any show any signs would quarantine them in a negative air-flow unit and have them tested," Campbell said.
Police said the inmates were likely wearing green shirts, imprinted with YCDOC and dark sweatpants. They could be barefoot or wearing orange sandals.
The inmates still on the run have been identified as Neftali Serrano, 27; Hugo Alejandro Amezcua-Hernandez, 28; Fernando Gustavo Casteneda-Sandoval, 31, all from Yakima; Tyrone Adam Mulvaney, 34, and Miguel Angel Chavez-Amezcua, 27, from Moses Lake; and Andrew Derrick Wolfley, 26, from Union Gap.
The charges for the escapees include theft, assault, resisting arrest possession of a firearm and drug offenses.
Multiple law enforcement agencies, including the Washington State Patrol and U.S. Marshals Service, were assisting in the search effort after the inmates escaped just after 7 p.m.