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3 hurt in escape attempt at Tarrant County Jail

FORT WORTH -- Two county jailers and a maintenance man were hospitalized Wednesday morning after being attacked during an escape attempt by three inmates, including a man accused of fatally shooting a woman and her 5-year-old granddaughter during a birthday party in April, sheriff's officials said.

A second inmate is accused in the strangulation death of a Grand Prairie woman discovered by railroad workers last fall in west Arlington.

Terry Grisham, a spokesman with the Tarrant County Sheriff's Department, said the inmates, at least one of whom was armed with a "shank," attacked the two jailers about 8:30 a.m. as they were being escorted to a recreational area located on the top floor of the jail at 350 W. Belknap St., above police headquarters. The inmates then attacked two maintenance workers, who they happened upon while running for the elevators, before being subdued by other officers, Grisham said.

"They got as far as the elevators and they were overtaken," Grisham said. "They're now in custody and they'll be under severe guard."

Officials identified one of the inmates as Erick "Truman" Davila, 21, who is charged with capital murder in the April 6 shooting at a crowded birthday party in Fort Worth that left a woman, Annette Stevenson, 48, and her granddaughter Queshawn Stevenson, 5, dead. Davila is also charged with murder in the unrelated fatal shooting of a 37-year-old man that same month.

The other inmates were identified as James Dwayne Edwards, 24, who was being held on charges of aggravated robbery and evading arrest; and Herschel Jerome Hurd, being held on charges of aggravated robbery and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Arlington police obtained an arrest warrant for murder against Edwards last week, accusing him in the death of Pam Pruett, a 45-year-old woman whose remains were found in November, wrapped in a comforter near railroad tracks in the 4600 block of West Division Street. He had not been formally charged as of Wednesday.

Grisham said officials believe the inmates were attempting to escape, based on demands and questions they were asking the officers while assaulting them.

"Information like, 'How do I get out of here? Where do these keys go to?,'" Grisham said.

Grisham said the timing and place of the attack -- when the inmates were not handcuffed or shackled and were inside the gym -- also lead officials to believe that the assault was planned.

"It's become more clear that this was an orchestrated escape attempt and these three individuals had this planned," Grisham said.

Grisham said a shank — a crude, self-made weapon used in the attack — appeared to have been fashioned out of metal.

"We think it was made out of a piece of allowed property that they use to heat soup and water with," he said.

Sheriff Dee Anderson said the hospitalized maintenance man was treated an released early Wednesday afternoon.

Michael H. Thompson, one of the two officers injured, was treated for his injuries at Harris Methodist Fort Worth hospital and released. Thompson has been with the department for 16 years, Grisham said.

The yet-to-be identified female jailer was still undergoing tests and X-rays and a decision had not been made on whether she would be admitted, he said.

Grisham said the second maintenance man who was assaulted by the inmates was treated at the scene and did not require hospitalization.