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Inmate escapes near Bellevue courthouse

Police say 21-year-old Windell Downs should be considered dangerous and anyone with any information is asked to call 911. (Dept. of Licensing via Bellevue Police.)

An inmate in shackles and prison jumpsuit escaped while on his way to Bellevue District Court on Friday.

Police say 21-year-old Windell Downs was being transported to the district courthouse from the King County Jail for a routine court hearing when he escaped.

Downs was being held at the King County Jail for first-degree robbery and other theft charges. He was taken to court for a suspended vehicle license.

Downs should be considered dangerous and anyone with information is asked to call 911. He is described as a black male with light skin. He’s about six feet tall, 174 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. Police say he has several tattoos on his neck and arms.

Bellevue Police Officer Carla Iafrate said a lone female Police Support Officer was transporting Downs and another inmate to the courthouse. Such officers are not commissioned and do not carry firearms.

As the support officer unloaded the inmates, Downs ran off on foot. Per standard procedure, the support officer called for backup and waited with the other inmate.

Iafrate said it is routine for a single officer to transport more than one inmate at a time.

Police are also trying to find Downs’ girlfriend, 20-year-old Tanjanique Hillis. She was spotted inside the courthouse and a vehicle matching the description of a car registered in her name was seen fleeing the scene.

Hillis drives a light blue Ford Crown Victoria with the Washington license plate AJW8923, according to police. She is now wanted for rendering criminal assistance in the case.

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