An accused murderer with ties to a Prince Albert street gang is on the run and considered armed and dangerous.
In an escape that sounds like a Hollywood scene, Braidy Chas Vermette was busted out of custody by two armed and masked men.
Two corrections officers were escorting him to the Victoria Union Hospital from the Prince Albert Correctional Centre at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday night when they were ambushed.
“As two of our corrections workers pulled up with Mr. Vermette to the hospital, two individuals showed up. They were masked, they were armed and they took Mr. Vermette willingly into a vehicle and disappeared from the scene,” explained Drew Wilby, executive director of corrections and policing for the Ministry of Justice.
Police say the corrections workers were hit with bear spray, but not seriously injured.
Wilby explained that correctional officers in Saskatchewan are not armed with firearms at any time, because it can cause problems if the guns were to fall into the wrong hands. They do carry pepper spray or batons, but Wilby did not reveal whether they had those at the time.
Corrections officers have the option of calling for an armed police escort when transporting an inmate who is considered to be dangerous. In this case, members of the Prince Albert Police Service were called to assist after the escape. The RCMP and the Ministry of Justice are helping with the investigation.
Prince Albert police are also reporting that the injury to Vermette’s arm was self-inflicted.
Wilby said calls made by inmates at the correctional facility are all recorded to be monitored later on.
“We’re reviewing all of those tapes, in particular as they pertain to Mr. Vermette, and others that may have been on his unit at the time, to determine what level of planning went into this, what exactly occurred,” Wilby said. “From preliminary information, I mean obviously this is something that’s just coming about today – we do believe it was premeditated for sure, but to what extent, we’re not clear at this point.”
“Our primary concern right now is to return Mr. Vermette to police custody so that he can be back within the walls of a correctional facility,” Wilby said, noting that public safety comes first.
Vermette is considered to be armed and dangerous. He is local to the Prince Albert area, but may have connections to a nearby First Nation.
“We also know that he is a member of a Prince Albert based street gang, and those connections would of course assist him potentially,” Wilby said.
Vermette is facing a charge of first-degree murder in the death of Troy Cecil Napope. He is scheduled to appear in Prince Albert Provincial Court on Monday.
Anyone who sees Vermette or has any information about where he might be is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS, contact Prince Albert Police Service, or call 911.
The Ministry of Justice, Corrections and Policing will be conducting an internal investigation to understand all the circumstances around the escape and to make recommendations to prevent any future escapes of this nature.