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Corrections Officer Rhonda Jean Russell

Blair County Prison, Pennsylvania

End of Watch Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Corrections Officer Rhonda Russell was shot and killed after a struggle for her firearm at the holding area of the Central Court building at 615 Fourth Street in Altoona.

A male inmate attacked and disarmed Officer Russell while waiting for a court hearing. An Altoona police officer who was in the court building saw the altercation between Officer Russell and the suspect. The suspect had restrained Officer Russell and aimed the weapon at the officer. The officer shot at the suspect, but the suspect moved Officer Russell into the line of fire. She was transported to UPMC Altoona, where she succumbed to her wounds.

The inmate who attacked Officer Russell was charged with murder of the second degree and murder of a law enforcement officer of the second degree.

Officer Russell had served 16 years with the Blair County Prison. She is survived by her three sons, fiancé, and parents.

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