Slain officers known for 'unwavering commitment to their job'

Death of 'loved' correctional officer stuns neighbors

FORSYTH, Ga. — The Georgia Department of Corrections said it is is mourning two of its officers after two inmates shot and killed them Tuesday morning.

Inmates were being transported between Hancock State Prison and Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison when two escaped from custody by overpowering two Baldwin State Prison transfer sergeants driving a state prison transport bus with a total of 33 inmates.

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The officers, Christopher Monica, 42, and Curtis Billue, 58, were disarmed by the inmates and were both shot and killed, according to officials.

The inmates are identified as Ricky Dubose, 24, and Donnie Russell Rowe, 43. They're believed to have carjacked a 2004 green Honda Civic four-door with Georgia license plate RBJ6601.

"If you see these fugitives or the vehicle, call 911 and do not approach," Sheriff Howard Sills said.

<p>Donnie Russell Rowe, 43, and Ricky Dubose, 24 are accused of shooting and killing two correctional officers.&nbsp;</p>

Donnie Russell Rowe, 43, and Ricky Dubose, 24 are accused of shooting and killing two correctional officers. 

Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the loss of two of our officers, who are our family, and our priority is to locate these fugitives and bring them to justice for this heinous act against those working to protect the public,” said Commissioner Dozier. “We are utilizing full resources of our local, state and national partners and appreciate their support," he said.

Officials said Monica began his career with the Department of Corrections in October 2009 as a correctional officer at Hancock State Prison. He transferred to Baldwin State Prison in February 2011 and was promoted to sergeant there in July 2012.

THE LATEST: 

  • 2 officers killed on prisoner transport bus
  • Inmates accused of killing them are armed and on the run
  • They escaped in a green Honda Civic with Georgia tag RBJ6601
  • "They're armed. They're dangerous. Call 911, don't approach them," Sills said
  • Bus was carrying 33 prisoners going to various locations from the Hancock State Prison

In July 2016, Monica accepted a job at the Transportation Unit in Milledgeville, Georgia. Monica recently accepted a part-time position at Augusta State Medical Prison, as well.

Officials said Billue began his career with Georgia Department of Corrections in July 2007 at Frank Scott Correctional Facility as a correctional officer and later transferred to Georgia Diagnostic Classification Prison in August 2009.

Billue then transferred to Baldwin State Prison in October 2011 and was accepted to a position at the Transportation Unit in Milledgeville, Georgia, in March 2013.

"Both officers were known for their unwavering commitment to their job and their love of family," Jeal Salter, with the Georgia Department of Corrections, said.

<p>Christopher Monica, 42. (Credit: WSB-TV)&nbsp;</p>

Christopher Monica, 42. (Credit: WSB-TV) 

Channel 2's Tyisha Fernandes went to both officers' homes here in Milledgeville on Tuesday.

Billue's neighbor told Fernandes that Billue was a nice guy and he'll miss him.

Monica's neighbors told Fernandes that Monica was like a second father to their children.

“You just could not fathom that it's someone that you know that literally lives right across the street from you,” neighbor Kimberly Moore said.

Moore said she met Monica 11 years ago when she and her family moved across the street from the Monica family in Milledgeville.

“We were all just kind of dragging stuff in, and we looked up and here comes this guy with two little children trailing behind him,” Moore said. “He said, My wife told me to bring y’all these cookies,' and he was, just, I remember it just like it was yesterday. It was great,” Moore said.

On Tuesday afternoon, a deputy sat in front of Monica's house to make sure his wife, Denise, could grieve in private.

Fernandes saw several relatives and friends show up to offer their condolences.

“He was wonderful. They were the type of neighbors that you would just love to have, when you go out of town, that's who you tell that you're gone out of town,” one neighbor said.

One of Monica's neighbor asked Fernandes to hide his identity before he said a few words about his friend.

“He was a nice guy. He worked all the time. He was tending to his father a lot,” the neighbor said.

Billue's neighbor said something was about to change in Billue's life, and had this happened a few weeks from now, Billue would not have been involved.

His neighbors said he talked about changing positions, working in the guard shack instead of transporting inmates.

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