Tallahassee Detention Center Shootout

Evidence markers traced what's left after a Wednesday morning shootout at the Tallahassee Federal Detention Center, a morning no one anticipated.

OFC John Newland of the Tallahassee Police Department said, "When we got on scene we observed that there were three subjects down. We didn't know if the gunman was still there or what the situation was. We did observe some CPR being administered."

The FBI confirms federal agents with the Justice Department's Inspector General's Office were trying to arrest six guards at the facility.

As they walked into the front lobby with no inmates present, one of the arrestees, Ralph Hill, grabbed a gun he personally owned, a gun he was not allowed to bring inside the facility, and fired. The gun fight sparked.

Michael Folmar, Regional Special Agent in Charge for the FBI, said, "These guards were unaware of these indictments today. This was, this arrest situation was done in a manner to be very controlled in a situation where nobody would have any weapons and we could take this down so there wouldn't be any violence."

But that's not how it went down. In the end, two people are dead, federal agent William Sentner from Orlando, who was in Tallahassee to assist with the arrest, and Ralph Hill, the prison guard who opened fire. A third prison bureau officer was wounded in the crossfire.

Tim Jansen, Hill's attorney, said, "It was a shock that all of this took place, especially in a federal prison. My heart goes out to the families of the victims and of my client’s family. It's a tragedy in so many ways."

The indictment came down Tuesday, a yearlong investigation into the six prison guards, including Ralph Hill. They are accused of using their official positions to obtain money from female inmates in exchange for introducing contraband into the prison, also accused of having sex with the inmates. The indictment goes on to say the guards would discourage the women from reporting the activity by threatening them, monitoring phone calls, threatening to place contraband in their personal belongings, even a transfer to another facility.

By the end of the day the FBI could only say so much, with many questions left unanswered. There were questions as to why Ralph Hill, a prison guard, brought his own gun into the facility.

The indictment tells us that the corrections officers were not subject to a search as they entered the building. However, prison staff is not allowed to bring personal weapons on institution grounds.

His attorney says Hill had a clean criminal record. We know that he worked at the facility for about 10 years and he once served with the Air Force. That yearlong investigation involved six prison guards. They are Alfred Barnes, Gregory Dixon, the deceased Ralph Hill, Vincent Johnson, Alan Moore and E. Lavon Spence, all indicted on conspiracy charges of bribing female inmates for sex.

The five will be in federal court Thursday. Meanwhile, an FBI shooting review team will start piecing together what happened. The team arrived in the capital city Wednesday night from Washington, D.C. It's not clear when we will learn what they discover in their investigation.


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