3 inmates escape from Department of Juvenile Justice

Teens overpowered staff before escape, police say

By Erik Avanier - Reporter , Jason Mealey - Producer/assignment editor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Police are searching for three teenagers who overpowered workers at a juvenile detection center on the Northside and escaped late Sunday evening, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said. 

Luther Davis, 16; Derek Browley, 16; and Justin Silva, 15, battered staff at the Department of Juvenile Justice facility on Lannie Road about 11:30 p.m. Sunday, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Police said three inmates overpowered staff members, took their keys, opened a secure door, ran from the building, jumped a fence and took off on foot.

Officers responded and conducted a search with JSO K-9s. However, the three have yet not been located.

Investigators said they determined the escape had been planned. News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said it's difficult for corrections officers to make sure inmates aren't planning an escape.

"They're close to each other. They're talking. They're having private conversations even inside their cells. Even if they're in solitary confinement, they have ways of communicating with each other. It's very hard to keep inmates from talking privately," Smith said.

Smith also said the fact that they could overpower guards makes them especially dangerous.

"Just because they're juveniles doesn't mean that they're going be less dangerous than adults would be," Smith said. "In some cases, they could be more dangerous because with younger inmates, especially teens, sometimes they're working on emotion and very upset about being there."

If you see these inmates, call 911. Anyone who has any information about the escaped inmates is asked to contact the Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500 or email at JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org. To remain anonymous and receive a possible reward of up to $3,000, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.

Copyright 2017 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.