Blair County, PA – Governor Tom Wolf ordered the commonwealth flag on all commonwealth facilities, public buildings and grounds in Blair County to fly at half-staff immediately in honor of Rhonda Russell, a Blair County corrections officer who died Wednesday, November 17, 2021.

Russell was fatally shot after an altercation with an inmate at Altoona’s Central Court building… not by the prisoner but accidentally by another officer.

The commonwealth flag shall be lowered to half-staff until sunset on Sunday, November 21, 2021.

The United States flag is to remain at full staff.

Although this is an order for just Blair County, all Pennsylvanians are invited to participate in this tribute.

May she rest in peace. Condolences to her friends and family, including her three sons and parents.

***

Altoona, PA – In nearby Altoona, a correctional officer was fatally shot after an altercation with an inmate at Altoona’s Central Court building, not by the prisoner but accidentally by another officer.

An unnamed prisoner had been in the building for a court proceeding when he disarmed the victim, Blair County Correctional Officer Rhonda Russell.

Another officer saw the altercation and shot at the suspect, but the shot hit Russell instead.

She was taken to UPMC Altoona, where she was pronounced dead.

Multiple police and state agencies are now involved in the investigation of the shooting.