Escaped inmate, suspect in Columbia officer’s stabbing captured

Williamson is pictured on the left in a photo from the S.C. Dept. of Corrections. Surveillance video, right, shows man suspected of stabbing Columbia police Officer.

COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) – Authorities say they have captured an escaped inmate who is also a suspect in the stabbing of an officer at a Walmart store.

He was caught around 10:30 Thursday morning after trying to run into the Northside Christian Academy. When he couldn’t get in because the doors were locked, he surrendered.

According to the S.C. Department of Corrections (SCDOC), Michael Alan Williamson escaped from McCormick Correctional Institution Wednesday and traveled to Columbia.

Williamson is serving a life sentence for armed robbery and assault and battery with intent to kill.  That case was in Greenville County in 1998.

officer-hardesty-was-treated-for-two-stab-wounds-to-her-left-arm-and-shoulder
Officer Hardesty was treated for two stab wounds to her left arm and shoulder. Source: Columbia Police Twitter

Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook says after escaping, Williamson stabbed a police officer at a Walmart store in Columbia when she was trying to take him in for shoplifting.

Authorities say the officer was stabbed several times while responding to a shoplifting call just before 10 p.m. Wednesday.

Officer Hardesty was treated for two stab wounds to her left arm and shoulder. She was released from the hospital Thursday morning. Chief Holbrook says, “She demonstrated so much courage yesterday, and she’s ready to get right back in the fight. She truly exemplifies service before self.”

Corrections Director Bryan Stirling says they’re not sure how Williamson escaped from the prison. “We believe he may have used a food truck, but I want to give y’all accurate information, so what we’re going to do is we’re going to investigate that and find out and we’d be happy to let you know once we know how that happened, but that’s the belief now,” he told reporters Thursday. Williamson’s prison record says he was a food service aide, which may have given him access to the food truck.

Prison officials verified he was missing around 8:50 p.m. Wednesday and don’t know exactly when he escaped.

Crime

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