Convict faces series of charges in the death of an officer | New

Christopher Jame Aikens, 54, was arraigned by Judicial District Judge Fred Miller at 1:30 a.m. Thursday morning following his attack on Blair County Corrections Officer Rhonda Russell in court in ‘Altoona at 615 4th Street Wednesday afternoon just after 3 p.m. Aiken was reportedly placed Officer Russell in the line of fire of another officer, resulting in his death.

Aikens is charged with felony for disarming law enforcement officer, felony for escape, felony for possession of firearm, two counts of assault by prisoner, eight counts charge of aggravated assault, two counts of reckless endangerment, one felony of kidnapping to facilitate a felony, second degree murder, two counts of murder of a law enforcement officer second degree order, felony for robbery, misdemeanor for possession of a firearm in a judicial establishment for use in a felony, misdemeanor for possession of an instrument of crime.

According to the police affidavit, law enforcement officials from several agencies were dispatched to report the gunfire and one gunned down officer. While there, Constable Russell was shot in the holding area and was transferred to UPMC Altoona.

CCTV footage at the scene captured the incident and examined by investigators. Constable Russell was armed with a duty pistol while working as a corrections officer at Blair County Jail. She was reportedly alone in the holding cell area, with no other law enforcement or prison officials supervising several detainees during court proceedings.

Aikens was present for his preliminary investigation on several gun and drug charges. He had previous convictions, including multiple burglary and theft convictions, prohibiting him from owning firearms.

Aiken was seen on guard walking out of the holding cell on his own to use the toilet. Before using the restroom, Constable Russell untied Aikens to free one of his hands. Aikens always had one hand tied before entering the bathroom. When he got out soon after, both his hands were free from restriction of movement. When Agent Russell attempted to open the door for Aikens to enter the holding cell, Aikens physically assaulted her.

During the altercation, Aikens and Russell entered the adjacent holding cell, where the physical altercation continued. After entering the room, Aikens took control of his gun and held it against the wall.

During the aforementioned altercation, Altoona City Police Sgt. George Bistline was armed with a duty firearm. Sgt. Bistline heard the commotion and responded to the waiting area. He unexpectedly observed Aikens pointing a handgun at his face as Agent Russell struggled to break free. Sgt. Bistline retreated into the hallway and retrieved his service pistol. After opening the cell door, Aikens pointed Constable Russell’s gun at the sergeant. Bistline, who fired a shot in an attempt to stop Aikens. Aikens lifted Agent Russell into the sights, causing the bullet to hit her.

Sgt. Bistline said that when he approached the door for the second time, Aikens was pointing the gun at Russell, while physically restraining her. Critics of CCTV to date are consistent with Sgt. Bistline’s account of the incident.

Other officers responded with AMED and attempted rescue measures and transported Officer Russell to UPMC, while other officers secured the scene. Search warrants were obtained for the scene and for Aikens. Other detainees who were in the waiting area at the time were questioned and said that Aikens had gone to the toilet on several occasions and expressed his intention to escape. Aikens later reportedly told other inmates that he would not allow anyone to interfere with his escape plan to avoid what he expected to be a heavy prison sentence.

Aikens was transported to Altoona Police and eventually to Pennsylvania State Police in Hollidaysburg, where he agreed to give a statement. Aikens admitted to police that he intended to escape and said he was surprised Constable Russell was left alone to watch him and the other inmates. He was able to remove his handcuffs from the restraint because one handcuff was left open. Aikens admitted he intended to disarm Constable Russell and intentionally pointed his gun at the sergeant. Bistline twice.

The bond was refused by MDJ Miller and Aikens was sent to SCI Huntingdon.

Comments are closed.