'Clearly the system is screwed up' — Kenney fumes as US Marshals join manhunt for 2 Philadelphia prison escapees

It took 18 hours and 3 headcounts before the prisons commissioner was informed of the breach
From left: Nasir Grant, 28, and Ameen Hurst, 18
According to authorities, Nasir Grant, 28, and Ameen Hurst, 18, have escaped from the Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center. Photo credit Philadelphia Police Department

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A manhunt is underway for two men who broke out of a Philadelphia prison. One of them is considered extremely dangerous.

According to authorities, Ameen Hurst, 18, who was in prison for four homicides, and Nasir Grant, 24, who was held for gun charges and drug offenses, escaped from the Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center on State Road on Sunday.

Department of Prisons Commissioner Blanche Carney said the two were housed in the same unit but different cells.

Investigators say two men were seen going through a hole in the recreation yard fence at approximately 8:30 p.m. Carney said there was no alarm on that fence. And it wasn’t until more than 18 hours and three headcounts later — around 3 p.m. Monday — that Carney says she was notified of the escape.

“As we go through the process, we have protocols in place, and these protocols were not followed,” she said. “So that will be part of our investigation.”

‘Cleary the system is screwed up’

Big question remain: What happened? How were two inmates considered “accounted for” in overnight headcounts for hours after their escape?

Carney said she has contacted the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections to perform a security assessment, to help them see vulnerabilities at the prison.

Carney said the last time a breach happened in a Philadelphia prison was 2010.

This prison break comes less than a week after the union representing the city’s correctional officers announced a “no confidence” vote in Carney, citing ongoing challenges and “disarray” behind the prison walls. Mayor Jim Kenney responded to that vote by doubling down on his support of the commissioner.

On Monday evening, addressing reporters outside the prison, Kenney was visibly and audibly furious.

“I’m really angry about it. There’s no reason for this. And if everybody had followed through and did what they’re supposed to do, we wouldn’t have this problem,” he said.

“Clearly the system is screwed up, and people didn’t do what they were supposed to do. It’s clear. But we want to find out exactly who, exactly how — and what we’ve got to do to shore it back up again.”

‘Armed and dangerous’

A $20,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of Hurst or Grant. Both men have lengthy criminal records and are considered armed and dangerous. Authorities urge anyone who may know where these two are to call 911 immediately.

Hurst was behind bars for several homicides — charged in 2021 with killing a 16-year-old and 24-year-old man who were sitting in a car, and then for the ambush and attack on 20-year-old Rodney Hargrove, who had just been released from Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in March of 2021 — just down the road from the prison he escaped from.

Hargrove was waiting for a bus home when he was shot and killed in what investigators believe was a case of mistaken identity.

Hurst is also charged with the murder of a 20-year-old man on Christmas Eve last year.

And he faces two attempted murder charges, as well as counts of robbery, assault and several gun offenses. He was next due in court on June 5.

His alleged co-conspirator, Grant, is facing a half-dozen gun charges, as well as several drug and theft offenses — and he has a prior record involving fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, reckless endangerment, a weapon offense — and other related charges.

Court records show he pleaded guilty to those charges in a deal, and he was sentenced to probation.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Philadelphia Police Department