Inmate escapes from Philadelphia jail

Gino Hagenkotter
Philadelphia Department of Prisons

An inmate escaped from a Philadelphia jail Thursday, and, in a seemingly separate incident hours earlier, an incarcerated person killed their cellmate, officials said.

Gino Hagenkotter, 34, was able to flee custody just after noon while on a work assignment outside the Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center, the same prison where two men escaped in May, according to the Philadelphia Department of Prisons. All of the city’s jails are located on State Road in Northeast Philadelphia.

Hagenkotter had been serving time at Riverside Correctional Facility after pleading guilty to burglary and theft charges, according to court documents. He met the prison system’s criteria to work outside, officials said.

Gino Hagenkotter, 34, escaped while assigned to a work duty outside.Philadelphia Department of Prisons

“Although this individual was in minimum custody, he should not be approached and anyone who sees him or is contacted by him should immediately call the police,” Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration said in a statement.

Authorities on Thursday afternoon released images of Hagenkotter, including surveillance footage screenshots showing what he was wearing at the time of the escape.

PDP said all of the city’s prisons had been put into lockdown by 12:20 p.m. Thursday, and visits have been suspended.

Just after 4:30 a.m. Thursday, medics pronounced a 44-year-old inmate dead after he was attacked inside his cell at Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, prison officials and police said.

Correctional guards were present in the unit and alerted medical staff, who administered CPR to the man, according to PDP. Officials have not publicly identified the man – the 13th inmate to die in Philadelphia jails this year – or his alleged attacker.

Prisons Commissioner Blanche Carney, in a statement following the killing, said her department “strives to provide a safe, lawful and secure correctional environment, and we are working with the Philadelphia Police Department to investigate this incident.”

PDP has been dealing with a severe staffing shortage – with around 40% of correctional officer positions unfilled – and is being monitored by a federal court as part of a settlement stemming from a class action lawsuit brought by inmates over prison conditions.

City Council members have been weighing legislation creating a new prison oversight board and office, which proponents say would have more authority than the system’s current advisory committee.