Fort Saskatchewan mayor seeks answers after prisoner escapes from hospital

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Fort Saskatchewan mayor seeks answers after prisoner escapes from hospital

The mayor of Fort Saskatchewan wants to know how a prisoner at the maximum security Edmonton Institution was able to escape custody while being treated at the city's hospital.

"Why would he not be brought to Edmonton as opposed to Fort Saskatchewan," asks Gale Katchur, the mayor of Fort Saskatchewan. "Why wasn't he shackled?"

Douglas Bruno John, who is serving a sentence for armed robbery, was being treated at the Fort Saskatchewan Community Hospital Saturday when he escaped police custody.

Police say he stole a pick-up truck. He was caught four hours later after a chase near St. Paul, Alta.

In a statement, Don Head, commissioner of Correctional Service Canada, said a review is underway to determine what led to the escape and how the agency responded.

A spokesperson declined further comment Monday.

Katchur said she will be following the case closely.

"We are going to be actively following and speaking with Correctional Services Canada on the investigation of those matters to insure that our citizen safety comes first," she said.

"If that means changing some protocols, that needs to happen."

Nearby residents were also shocked to learn a prisoner was on the lam.

"This neighbourhood is full of children," said Chris Robertson lives in the SouthPointe neighbourhood east of the hospital. "I was scared for the area residents and especially the children."

Robertson wants to know how the prisoner escaped and evaded RCMP officers.

"Once they were notified where did they set up a perimeter? Given that we know that the individual was caught in St. Paul how did this individual get by the perimeter?"

Fort Saskatchewan RCMP searched the area following the escape, without success. They released a photo of John while he was on the run.

"We wanted the public to definitely be aware that this individual has escaped custody and had a truck and was driving in an unknown direction," said Cpl. Ron Bumbry, a RCMP media relations officer.

"We didn't know where he was going at first. Obviously there as a huge public safety concern. All our officers were on high alert to try and locate this vehicle.

John is expected to appear in court in St. Paul on Thursday and Fort Saskatchewan on Mar. 16.