A man serving a 34-year sentence for attempted second-degree murder was shot in the torso after he tried to escape from Elayn Hunt Correctional Center in St. Gabriel on Friday afternoon, state prison officials said.
Troy Watson, 22, was on an outdoor work crew returning to the field after their lunch break ended around 1 p.m. when he began running through the fields where vegetables are grown outside the fenced-in part of the facility, said Pam Laborde, spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections.
The two armed guards overseeing the work crew shouted at Watson to stop and fired warning shots, but Watson kept running, Laborde said. He reached the part of the field where okra was planted when the officers opened fire. A bullet shot Watson through his right flank and exited his abdomen without striking any vital organs, Laborde said.
Watson was apprehended and taken to a local hospital but has since received stitches and is recovering at the Elayn Hunt medical facility. He is not scheduled to be released from prison until 2043.
The Department of Corrections will perform an internal review of the shooting, Laborde said, but the use of force in the incident so far seems justified.
Laborde said she couldn’t recall a prisoner shooting like this in at least a decade.
Watson’s conviction was handed down in the 4th Judicial District Court, which includes Ouachita and Morehouse parishes.