West Shore RCMP on ‘proactive patrol’ Tuesday for two escaped prisoners with violent pasts

West Shore RCMP on 'proactive patrol' Tuesday for two escaped prisoners with violent pasts
WatchTwo men considered dangerous remain on the run after escaping from William Head in Metchosin Sunday evening.

Gordon Burleson remained on edge Tuesday afternoon as the search continued for two prisoners who escaped from William Head Institution just down the street from his house in Metchosin.

“As I say you know what they’ve done in the past is pretty fierce,” Burleson said, “make sure you keep your doors locked.”

Thirty-year-old Zachary Armitage and 42-year-old James Lee Busch escaped from the minimum security prison around 6:45 p.m. Sunday. Corrections staff only noticed they were missing when they didn’t turn up for the 11 p.m. roll call.

A massive air and ground search was launched and remained in high gear throughout Monday but Tuesday it was much quieter.

“West Shore RCMP said Tuesday they were conducting proactive patrols across the West Shore including the Royal Roads campus in Colwood. A university spokesperson said staff, students and faculty were informed about the search and everyone has been asked to remain vigilant.

RCMP wouldn’t say anything more about their search for the two men, both who are serving time for violent offences.

Busch pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 2010 and was sentenced to life in prison with no parole for 15 years. He had killed a woman over a $20 drug debt then put her body in a dumpster. The woman, 41-year-old Sandra Marie Ramsay, had lived next door to Busch at a downtown assisted living facility.

Busch, who is 5’9” and weighs 179 pounds, had been out of jail just two months when he killed Ramsay and had previous convictions for violent offences including assault with a weapon.

Armitage is serving a 13-year sentence for robbery and aggravated assault, in which the victim later died.

If you see either man or anything suspicious on your property call 9-1-1 immediately.

William Head Assistant Warden Anthony Baldo says the institution has launched an internal review to see what exactly went wrong and what they can do better to prevent future escapes.

He said like all offenders both men would have been assessed upon sentencing and had a plan put together that would be geared towards eventually releasing them into the community.

Baldo did say that once captured the two will be returned to a facility with a higher security level.

West Shore RCMP says James Lee Busch, 42, is one of two inmates that escaped from William Head Institution in Metchosin. Photo courtesy Facebook/Correctional Service of Canada.

Zachary Armitage, 30, is identified as one of two William Head Institution inmates that escaped this weekend from the facility in Metchosin. Photo courtesty Facebook/Correctional Service of Canada.

April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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