Oct 25, 2010 5:45 PM
From St. Martin Parish Sheriff's Office: On Tuesday, October 19, 2010, at approximately 10:30 a.m., two St. Martin Parish Sheriff's Office Correctional Officers were overseeing the transfer of six inmates from the main cell area of the jail to the roof top fenced recreation area. The Correctional Officers were positioned with one at the roof top stairwell entrance and one at the second floor stairwell entrance in accordance with inmate escort protocol. There is a ratio of one correctional officer for every three inmates during escort according to SMPCC Regulations. Department of Corrections regulations mandate 30 inmates to 1 Correctional Officer. All inmates are eligible for recreation time unless there is some type of specific restriction prohibiting them from participating in recreation time.
As the first three inmates entered the rooftop recreation area, two of the inmates attacked the Correctional Officer at the entranceway, ultimately taking possession of his keys. While continuing to struggle with the inmates, the Correctional Officer was able to access his OC Canister and pepper-sprayed Paul Collins. This caused the inmate to disengage from the attack, leaving the Correctional Officer with moderate injuries consisting of several lacerations, and contusions. Despite injuries sustained in the attack, the Correctional Officer was able to alert Correctional Staff via radio during the struggle. The Correctional Center was immediately placed on lockdown. One of the inmates unlocked the external gate of the chain link razor wired perimeter fence. John jumped off the South side of the roof, and sustained severe fractures to both legs. Collins elected to exit from the North side of the roof onto Jefferson Street.
An immediate notification was put out to the entire St. Martin Parish Sheriff's Office to respond. When Paul Collins could not be immediately located, requests for assistance were made to several area law enforcement agencies who responded within minutes of the incident. Subsequently, as a precautionary measure, the St. Martin Parish School Superintendent was immediately notified as well as the schools within the immediate area of the St. Martin Parish Correctional Center. The First Call Network was also activated and calls were made to 2800 residents and businesses within a five mile radius of the Correctional Center informing them of the incident. A perimeter was set up at all City exits and Officers were assigned to search teams, while several marked and unmarked units patrolled the area. Shortly after the escape, SMSO Deputies, Iberia S.O. Deputies, and Louisiana State Police ground units formed a perimeter throughout the City of St. Martinville. Two helicopters (Louisiana State Police and RotorCraft) were also assisting by air; and a boat was also dispatched to Bayou Teche. As the day progressed, Deputies responded to several possible sightings throughout the City. The search continued round the clock with deputies working 24 hour shifts still focusing the search on the City of St. Martinville. The resident, who called in the sighting of Paul Collins on Church Street, contacted St. Martinville Police Department twice on the night of Collins' capture. St. Martinville Police Officers checked the area without locating Collins. Once St. Martin Parish Sheriff's Office received the information, six S.O. Units were in the area within one minute. A tight perimeter was set up, and additional ground units were deployed along with three K-9 units; St. Martin S.O., Lafayette S.O., and Lafayette P.D. and they were able to locate and subsequently capture Paul Collins. Although Deputies were met with resistance from Collins, he was apprehended without incident at approximately 9:30 on Wednesday, October 20, 2010. His capture was within one hour of the information that was received by the St. Martin Parish Sheriff's Office.
Paul Collins was located by St. Martin Parish Sheriff's Office Deputies under a vacant structure on Church Street in St. Martinville. As a result of his jump from the roof top, Collins sustained multiple injuries and was brought to the hospital for medical clearance prior to his return to the St. Martin Parish Correctional Center. Paul Collins was in the St. Martin Parish Correctional Center awaiting trial.
The invesitgation regarding this incident is ongoing and there is no further information available at this time.