Sheriff’s Office: Triple murder suspect attempts to escape jail

Law enforcement searched the jail though did not comment on whether anything was found

By Emily Gillespie, Columbian Breaking News Reporter

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The suspect in a triple homicide attempted to escape the Clark County Jail on Sunday night but was interrupted by a corrections deputy, Clark County Undersheriff Mike Cooke said.

A corrections deputy was doing a routine perimeter check of the jail just before 9 p.m. Sunday and discovered a broken exterior window of a cell, the sheriff’s office reported.

Deputies placed the jail on lockdown because of the possibility that weapons or contraband might have been introduced into the jail, the sheriff’s office said.

On-duty members of the SWAT team, as well as patrol deputies and Vancouver police officers, responded to the jail, 707 W. 13th St. in Vancouver, and worked to clear the facility and search for possible contraband.

The agency said it does not comment on the seizure of contraband or the movement of inmates within the jail.

By Monday morning, the jail had returned to normal operations, and detectives with the sheriff’s office major crimes unit began investigating the circumstances of the broken window.

That investigation, however, revealed that the broken window was linked to an escape attempt by Brent Luyster, Cooke said.

When that discovery was made, jail staff resumed the lockdown, Cooke said. The jail was expected to remain on lockdown into Monday evening, Cooke said.

Luyster, a 35-year-old known white supremacist, is accused of fatally shooting three people and critically injuring a fourth victim at a Woodland home in July. He was by himself in the jail cell, Cooke said.

How Luyster allegedly broke the window, creating a 6-by-8-inch hole, is under investigation, Cooke said. The windows are secured by specialty glass, screens and metal bars.

Crews with the county’s facilities department are working to repair the damaged window, and the cell will remain empty until those repairs are made, Cooke said.

After detectives are finished with their investigation, they will forward the report to the Clark County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for consideration of new charges. Luyster, who was already expected in court today in the murder case, likely will face new charges in the attempted escape incident, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney James Smith said.

Escapes and escape attempts from the jail are rare, but they do happen.

In May, an inmate at the Clark County Jail successfully escaped after he switched identities with a fellow inmate scheduled to be released.

Michael Diontae Johnson, 30, used a wristband belonging to LaQuon Carson Boggs, 19, of Portland to walk out of the jail on May 12. Johnson changed into Boggs’ clothes and changed his hair to resemble Boggs’ before he was released by jail staff.

Johnson, who already was serving a 24-year prison sentence from an Arizona case, was in Clark County to stand trial in a March 2014 domestic violence case when he escaped.

He was caught about three weeks later in Illinois and was sentenced to five years for the escape and other charges.

The Clark County Jail made changes to its intake and release processes by increasing the number of identifiers used to verify a person’s identity.

Reporter Jessica Prokop contributed to this story.