End Of Watch: Community honors fallen corrections officer

Local News

ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — Community members across Central Pennsylvania are honoring the memory of Blair County Prison Correctional Officer Rhonda Russell who died Wednesday after an incident at Altoona’s Central Court building.

47-year-old Russell was fatally shot by an Altoona police officer who was attempting to save her from an inmate that planned to escape by taking her firearm and assaulting her, according to state police. Russell is survived by three children and a fiancée.

As family, friends and area residents continue to process Russell’s tragic death, proceeds are being raised to help pay for a memorial in her honor.

A fundraiser for the memorial is selling stickers featuring the state of Pennsylvania with a thin grey line over top of a black background. Similar to the thin blue line representing police officers, a thin grey line represents correctional officers and those who serve in correctional institutions.

“Rhonda Russell End Of Watch 11/17/21,” the sticker reads. All remaining proceeds from the fundraiser are reportedly planned to be donated to a charity.

The Blair County Prison Board also announced a law enforcement memorial service for Russell has been scheduled to take place on Monday, Nov. 29 at 11 a.m. at the Blair County Convention Center along Convention Center Blvd. in Altoona. The service will be open to the public.

News of Russell’s passing reached Governor Tom Wolf who ordered all commonwealth flags to fly at half-staff in tribute until sunset, Sunday, Nov. 21.

State police are continuing to investigate the incident.

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