Authorities are searching for an escaped maximum-security inmate who's suspected of stabbing a police officer several times Wednesday night at the Bush River Road Walmart, and schools in the area are on lockdown.
Michael Allen Williamson, 47, escaped at around 8:50 p.m. Wednesday from McCormick Correctional Institution, said Dexter Lee of the South Carolina Department of Corrections.
A female officer responding to a shoplifting call about 9:30 p.m. at the Walmart was stabbed inside the store, police said.
Police said in a news release that the officer is recovering from her injuries.
Several schools in the area were in a modified lock-down Thursday, including Columbia High School, Sandel Elementary School, St. Andrews Middle School and H.B. Rhame Jr. Elementary School.
Modified lockdown means no outside activities and restricted access to the schools, according to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, which is providing assistance in the manhunt along with the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department and State Law Enforcement Division.
SCDOC described Williamson as being about 5-feet 11-inches tall with a stocky build. He has a fair complexion, green eyes and red hair.
He has a tattoo on his left arm of Harley-Davidson wings and a scar on his left elbow.
Williamson began serving a life sentence for armed robbery and assault and battery with intent to kill in 1997. Lee says authorities are still investigating how Williamson got out of the prison.