SEATTLE — An inmate convicted of wounding seven people in a 2005 mall rampage took a Washington corrections officer hostage with a pair of scissors Wednesday during an escape attempt that killed another prisoner who tried to drive a forklift through a fence, corrections officials said.
Dominick Maldonado, 25, an inmate at the Clallam Bay Corrections Center, took the officer hostage just after 10 a.m., said state Department of Corrections spokesman Chad Lewis.
At the same time, another inmate drove a forklift out the doors of a work area and into a prison fence. A corrections officer shot and killed the forklift driver, who has been identified as 25-year-old Kevin Newland.
Newland was serving a 45-year sentence for first-degree murder in Spokane County.
Lewis said the hostage situation ended with minor injuries to the guard.
Investigation of the incident was expected to continue, so Lewis couldn't say for sure if the two men were working together.
"There's a very good chance that it was coordinated," Lewis said. "I'm just speculating. It could have been a case of an offender saying, 'Here's my chance.'"
Maldonado is serving a 163-year sentence for numerous charges related to the shooting spree at the Tacoma Mall. Four people were taken hostage during the melee, which lasted for several hours and left seven people injured. The most seriously wounded victim was left partially paralyzed.
Maldonado was convicted in 2007 of 15 crimes, including attempted murder, assault and kidnapping. During his trial, Maldonado's defense argued he was in the throes of a mental disorder and shouldn't have been held responsible for the assault.
He had been at Clallam Bay Corrections Center in the Northwest corner of Washington state since 2007, in the "close custody unit," which Lewis said allows some movement of prisoners, including work time and visitors. After Wednesday's incident he was moved into the "intensive management unit," where he will most of his time in his cell, Lewis said.
Clallam Bay and the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla are the state's two highest security prisons.
Newland began his 45-year prison sentence in November 2007 after a Spokane County jury convicted him of shooting to death Jamie Lynn Drake, the roommate of a woman he was dating.
Superior Court Judge Sam Cozza told The Spokesman-Review newspaper Drake was a "nice young lady" whose family suffered greatly over her loss.
"Most crimes are stupid and senseless," Cozza said. "This was more stupid and senseless than most."
Wednesday's escape attempt was the second in Washington state in less than a month, but the first in recent memory at a high security prison, Lewis said.
On June 14, 39-year-old James Edward Russell took off from the Olympic Corrections Center, a minimum security work camp near Forks. He was caught the next day after he knocked on the door of a cabin in the woods, only to find out the man renting the lodge was an off-duty guard at the prison he just fled.
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