In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, two 17-year-old teenagers, both accused of murder, have escaped from the East Baton Rouge Juvenile Detention Center. This incident, which occurred late Saturday night, marks the second escape in less than two weeks for one of the teens, David Atkins. His fellow escapee, Willie Jackson, is also being held on a first-degree murder charge.
The Baton Rouge Police Department and the U.S. Marshals Service are currently conducting a search for the escaped teens. Details on how they managed to break out of the facility remain unclear, but an investigation into the escape’s circumstances is underway. The previous escape involving Atkins happened on November 13, when he and another detainee fled during a commotion as guards were managing prisoners after a fight. They were captured after an extensive search lasting over a day.
Both Atkins and Jackson are considered armed and dangerous. The public is advised not to approach them and to contact Capital Region Crime Stoppers at 225-344-7867 or call 911 with any information on their whereabouts. The Baton Rouge Police Department, through spokesperson Cpl. Saundra Watts, has urged vigilance and immediate reporting of any sightings.
The East Baton Rouge juvenile facility has faced criticism for repeated escapes and violent incidents. In 2021, five prisoners escaped after overpowering a staff member, and in February 2022, a brawl involving eight teens resulted in injuries to three of them. East Baton Rouge Parish had allocated $2 million for security improvements at the facility, but as of the recent escapes, these upgrades were still in the planning stages.
District Attorney Hillar Moore expressed concern about the situation, stating, “We’re dealing with juveniles that are extremely violent… This is just unacceptable.” He emphasized the urgency of addressing security issues at the detention center to prevent further incidents.