Vernon Collins charged following Justice Center escape

4:24 PM, Apr 24, 2011   |    comments
  • Vernon Collins caught early Friday afternoon.
  • Vernon Collins
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St. Louis, MO (KSDK) - The St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office has charged one of the men who escaped from the Justice Center in Downtown St. Louis Friday morning.

Vernon Collins, 34, was on his way to a residence in Jennings Friday around midnight when he was arrested. Officers went to that location and witnessed him entering the house. As officers attempted to arrest Collins, they say he ran through the house and jumped out a plate glass window. After being treated at a local hospital, Collins was taken into custody.

On Sunday, prosecutors charged Collins with escape or attempted escape from confinement and first-degree property damage.

Vernon Collins had previously been charged with assault on a law enforcement officer, armed criminal action, assault, resisting arrest and disarming a correctional officer.

Police said Collins was suspected of shooting a St. Louis police officer when they got into a struggle over the officer's gun earlier this year following a stabbing investigation in the 5200 block of St. Louis Avenue. The officer was critically injured in the shooting.

The other escapee, 33-year-old David White, was apprehended at a gas station in North St. Louis Friday afternoon. White was previously charged with burglary, domestic assault, unlawful use of a weapon, endangering the welfare of a child and property damage.

Police said the men were in the infirmary as the Justice Center, located at 200 S. Tucker. Both men removed their yellow corrections jumpsuits prior to escaping. He said they pushed the bunk bed they were assigned to sleep in and put it against the wall. They climbed into the ceiling and were able to gain access to a window. They smashed the window, tied bed sheets together into a rope and used that to get down the wall.


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