Police hunt for two ‘dangerous’ inmates who escaped Victoria-area prison

Zachary Armitage (left) and James Lee Busch (right) escaped the William Head Institution on Sunday evening. RCMP handout

Police on Vancouver Island are on the hunt for two men who escaped a federal minimum security prison near Victoria.

According to the West Shore RCMP, the two inmates got free from the William Head Institution in Metchosin around 6:45 p.m. on Sunday.

The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) said it realized the men were missing during an 11 p.m. count of inmates Sunday night.

James Lee Busch, 42, was serving an indeterminate sentence for second-degree murder and assault. He has previously served time for aggravated sexual assault and escaping custody.

Story continues below advertisement

Zachary Armitage, 30, was serving a nearly 14-year sentence for robbery, aggravated assault and other offences, police said.

Assistant Warden Anthon Baldo said the two men were in minimum security because they had been “cascaded down” to the facility after regular assessments by corrections staff.

What that means is that every offender we take to William had institution is given a thorough assessment,” he said.

“I can tell you that offenders that have are doing life sentences or indeterminate sentences … those individuals cascade down through the various levels of security.

He said offenders who have reached the minimum security level are being prepared for reintegration to society, though noted someone on an indeterminate sentence may remain on parole or connected to the CSC for the remainder of their life.

READ MORE: Inmate crashes through ceiling in botched Indiana prison escape

Police describe both men as dangerous, and say the public should not approach them.

Global News is seeking more information from the Correctional Service of Canada on the manner of the men’s escape.

WATCH: (Aired: February, 2015) Escaped Applewood firebomber arrested in Victoria 

West Shore RCMP say it has deployed a police dog along with a helicopter unit to assist officers in tracking the inmates.

Story continues below advertisement

Busch is described as five-foot-nine and 160 pounds. He has medium-tan coloured skin, a shaved head and a skull tattoo on his left forearm.

READ MORE: Escaped Saskatchewan Penitentiary inmate caught

Armitage is described as five-foot-10 and 170 pounds. He has light-coloured skin, short-trimmed black hair and a tattoo with a crown and the words “No Love” tattooed on his right arm.

The CSC said it is “working with police to locate the inmates as quickly as possible.”

RCMP are asking anyone who sees the men or has information on their whereabouts to call 911, or contact Crime Stoppers if they wish to remain anonymous.