Woman who called 9-1-1 on escaped prisoner: 'these four inmates are like freaking out'

Posted at 5:26 PM, Oct 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-20 17:26:09-04

The prisoner who escaped work release Wednesday and kidnapped the corrections officer took control of the situation by threatening to cut the guard’s throat, according to documents released Thursday.

The prisoner, David Ross, was among five other prisoners on work release doing maintenance work in a Bartow park.

Documents reveal at some point Ross picked up a knife and put it to the corrections officer neck, and then ordered the four other inmates into the bathroom.

“Go into the bathroom or I’ll cut his neck,” he said, according to one of the inmates’ statements to detectives.

Ross then tied the door shut with rope, put the officer in handcuffs, and drove off in a City of Bartow Truck.

Detectives pinged the officers phone and tracked them down to the St. Petersburg area where he was taken into custody without incident.

Once the other prisoners tore the rope of the bathroom door, they frantically ran to get help.

A woman eating in the park on her lunch break called 9-1-1.

“There was about four inmates who came running up to me,” she said on the 9-1-1 call. “They said one of the other inmates kidnaped the officer and they left in a truck. They’re pointing which way they went and I’m driving around the block and I don’t see them anywhere.”

The inmates got caught in a tricky situation because they don’t want any trouble near the end of their sentences.

“These four inmates here are like freaking out,” she told the dispatcher.

Every available unit on this side of the county raced to the area but it was too late. Ross already escaped with the guard, Jeff Rexrode.

Rexrode was not injured in the ordeal.

The Florida Department of Corrections is doing a full review on the escape.