GPSO: Escaped inmate murdered woman, killed himself - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

GPSO: Escaped inmate murdered woman, killed himself

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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB News Channel 5) -- The Grant Parish Sheriff’s office has identified the victim of a murder-suicide as 33 year-old Jhonnie Kashum Kite.

McKennedy Armstead only had 18 days left to serve on a narcotics sentence, when he swiped the keys to a City of Alexandria truck and fled.

News Channel 5's Brooke Buford asked law enforcement the tough questions about how the inmate managed to escape - and kill.

The Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office defended its decision Tuesday to let McKennedy Armstead, an inmate serving a sentence for a drug violation, to be part of its trustee program.

"We didn't feel from his behavior, up until yesterday, that he was a threat," said Lt. Tommy Carnline with the Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office.

Armstead had 18 days left in jail before his release.

The Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office says he was working at the City of Alexandria's electric complex, under the supervision of a city employee, when he escaped.

"We have inmates that are picked up by different municipalities or parts of the city, in this case the D.G. Hunter complex," said Lt. Carnline. "He is picked up and signed out by a city employee and he is supervised by a city employee."

According to reports, Armstead stole the keys to a city truck and fled. The sheriff's office immediately sent out a press release notifying the public. That release said Armstead was not considered dangerous.

But, just a few hours later, that changed. The Grant Parish Sheriff's office says Armstead ended up in the area, shot and killed a woman, and then killed himself.

RPSO says Armstead never showed warning signs of being a danger.

"Any of our inmates that are out working in the public, they're evaluated to see if they would make a good trustee," said Lt. Carnline. "We look at their previous charges. We don't let sex offenders out in public. We don't let a murderer out in public. We look at the time left to serve. And, we also look at what type of inmate they have been while they have been with us."

RPSO says Armstead passed those tests. And, what happened Monday, was just a terrible tragedy.

"One thing that can't be predicted is human behavior," said Lt. Carnline.

The Grant Parish Sheriff's Office says they don't have a positive ID yet on the victim. But, they said she was a black female.

We asked the City of Alexandria for an interview for more information about who was responsible for monitoring Armstead when he escaped and how the inmate managed to steal the keys to a city-owned vehicle. Public information officer, Cynthia Jardon, told us the city administration would not comment until the investigation is complete. 

But, Chief of Police for the Alexandria Police Department, Loren Lampert, did issue a statement: 

“The APD is investigating all aspects of this incident which occurred within our jurisdiction in conjunction with the Grant Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office. This individual was a trustee and, like other cities and public agencies within the parish, Alexandria utilizes trustee labor in various departments. The City relies upon the correctional agency to classify and determine which inmates are assigned trustee status, and we trust that process. It appears as though this tragedy is the direct result of the decisions made and intentional actions of one individual. Unfortunately, you cannot predict human behavior. If you could, we are sure the correctional agency would not have given this individual trustee status."

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