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May 09, 2023

Two men, including an alleged killer, escaped Philadelphia jail, authorities say

Police are searching for the men, who cut a hole in the fence at the correctional center in Holmesburg on Sunday night. Their absence was not noticed until Monday afternoon

Investigations Prison Escape
Prisoners escape Philly Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

Two men escaped the Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center on Sunday night, police said. Ameen Hurst, 18, an alleged killer, and Nasir Grant, 24, were seen on surveillance footage cutting a hole in a fence at the jail.

Two men escaped from a Philadelphia jail on Sunday night, and it took correctional officers nearly 20 hours to notice their absence. 

Based on surveillance video, the two prisoners escaped around 8:30 p.m. Sunday after cutting a hole in a fence at the Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center in Holmesburg, 6ABC reported.

One of the men, Ameen Hurst, 18, has been charged in connection to four homicides. He is accused of carrying out a quadruple shooting in West Philly in March 2021 that killed two people and then, days later, killing a man who had just been released from prison. He also allegedly committed a homicide on Christmas Eve in 2020. 

The other man, Nasir Grant, 24, was in jail on gun and drug charges, police said. 

The two men were in the same prison unit, but were not cellmates, police said.

Their escape came after AFSCME Local 159, the union representing Philadelphia's correctional officers, voted that it had no confidence in Prisons Commissioner Blanche Carney due to alleged unsafe, inadequate conditions and staffing issues at the city's four prisons.

It took three headcounts before police noticed the missing men, Carney told media members at a press briefing Monday.

"So the facility became aware today at their 3 p.m. headcount that we had two individuals that were not accounted for, " Carney said. "They're going back through the process to see if those three counts that were called in as cleared and why they did not detect those two individuals missing.

"As we go through the process, we have protocols in place, and these protocols were not followed," Carney added. "So that will be part of our investigation."

Carney requested the state Department of Corrections do a security assessment at the jail to address any vulnerabilities, KYW reported

Mayor Jim Kenney said the people working in the facility did not do their jobs, calling the system "screwed up."

"If everybody had followed through and did what they're supposed to do, we wouldn't have this problem," he said during a press conference. 

The U.S. Marshals are aiding the Philadelphia police in pursuit of the escaped inmates, the Inquirer reported.

A $20,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of the men, who are considered dangerous. Anyone with information is asked to call the Northeast Detectives at (215) 686-3153, the police tip line at (215) 546-TIPS, or 911.