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How Benjamin Small escaped from Davidson County jail

LEXINGTON, N.C. -- More than a day after 23-year-old Benjamin Small broke out of the Davidson County Detention Center, the sheriff and other law enforcement agencies are looking to the public for tips leading to his arrest.

"He did a good job at vanishing," Sheriff David Grice said.

We're now learning more about how Small escaped. Grice says he was on what's called "lock down" along with five or six other inmates. Inmates on lock down could be there for a variety of reasons, such as breaking the rules of the jail or violent behavior, according to Grice.

While one female officer was putting mattresses back in the cells for this block, Grice says Small was hiding in a corner, came out and attacked the guard.

"Striking detention officer Powell with a shower head, which he had removed, in a sock," Grice said.

The sheriff says after Small beat up the guard, he stole her keys and walkie talkie, running through the jail making it to the kitchen which had a door to the outside. Grice says officers were chasing Small, who made it to a loading dock in the back of the jail, climbed over a small part of the fence that didn't have extensive barbed wire and took off.

The female officer was treated and released from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, according to the sheriff, and is expected to be OK.

"They suspect she may have a fracture in her face, you're gonna have to wait for swelling to go down," Grice said.

Grice says they were just in the process of upgrading the jail's video security system and doesn't believe the amount of officers on duty that night contributed to Small's escape. He says there are nine open positions at the jail.

"There's no statewide recommended ratio for inmates to officers," Grice said. "We face the same problems every other sheriff's office around here faces and that's getting adequate staffing. We're not where we'd like to be in staffing of the jail, nor on patrol or at the sheriff's office in general."

Grice says they've checked 25 different addresses associated with Benjamin Small in the area and can't say for sure he is still in Davidson County. Small is now in the statewide police database, other agencies have his mugshot and know to be on the lookout for him.

Small was in jail for charges of breaking and entering and has an extensive history including stealing cars and possessing drugs. He is considered dangerous and if you see him the sheriff asks you call 911.