Corrections Officer Rhonda Jean Russell

Corrections Officer Rhonda Jean Russell

Blair County Prison, Pennsylvania

End of Watch Wednesday, November 17, 2021

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Rhonda Jean Russell

Corrections Officer Rhonda Russell was shot and killed after a struggle for her firearm at the holding area of the Central Court building at 615 Fourth Street in Altoona.

A male inmate attacked and disarmed Officer Russell while waiting for a court hearing. An Altoona police officer who was in the court building saw the altercation between Officer Russell and the suspect. The suspect had restrained Officer Russell and aimed the weapon at the officer. The officer shot at the suspect, but the suspect moved Officer Russell into the line of fire. She was transported to UPMC Altoona, where she succumbed to her wounds.

The inmate who attacked Officer Russell was charged with murder of the second degree and murder of a law enforcement officer of the second degree. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life for murder and 60-120 years for other charges.

Officer Russell had served 16 years with the Blair County Prison. She is survived by her three sons, fiancé, and parents.


  • Age 47
  • Tour 16 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire (Inadvertent)
  • Weapon Handgun
  • Offender Life in prison

crossfire, escape attempt, prisoner custody

Most Recent Reflection

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Dear Officer Russell,

Just over two years ago you left this world while doing your job. Only those that walk the tier know the feeling you must have had on that fateful day. Please remember that you are loved and missed by those of us left behind. And know that we will never forget your bravery, loyalty and dedication in doing the difficult job you chose to do.

St. Michael holds you in his arms as one of his chosen Angels.

Rhonda L. Fleming #59416
Correctional Officer (Ret)
California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation

November 22, 2023

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