ANAMOSA, Iowa (KWWL) -- Officials with the Department of Corrections have identified the two victims killed in Tuesday's assault at the Anamosa State Penitentiary and provided initial details into the attack. Two inmates have been charged in the killings.
Registered nurse Lorena Schulte and Correctional Officer Robert McFarland were killed by inmates Thomas Woodard and Michael Dutcher, who corrections officials say were attempting to escape the facility.
Schulte, 50, of Cedar Rapids, was a nurse with the State Penitentiary and had worked at the facility since 2007. Correctional Officer McFarland was 46-years-old, had a wife and children, and was a volunteer firefighter with the Ely Fire Department.
"Two public servants were taken from this world by an act that I can only describe as 'pure evil'" Iowa Department of Corrections Director Beth Skinner said.
While the attack is still being investigated, DCI Special Agent in Charge Rick Rahn gave details on the events Tuesday morning.
Rahn said that when officials responded to a report of four possible injuries, they found McFarland and Schulte in the break room of the infirmary, both having been hit in the back of the head by use of two hammers.
Inmate McKinley Roby, who is from Waterloo, was also injured in the back of the head by a hammer. He was transported to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City where he is currently receiving treatment.
The initial investigation has revealed that McFarland and Schulte were attempting to stop the escape attempt of Dutcher and Woodard.
Dutcher, 28, and Woodard, 39, attempted to escape by shattering glass in the break room within the infirmary, which allowed them access to the bars of the window. They attempted to grind the bars behind the glass using a grinding tool.
Rahn says that they were "not successful whatsoever" in their escape.
Another staff member, Lori Mathis, attempted to provide aid to Schulte and McFarland, and was grabbed by Dutcher, and held against her will before being released when Dutcher ran out of the break room. He was seen covered in blood and was apprehended.
Both Dutcher and Woodard have admitted to responsibility for causing the deaths. They have been formally charged with two counts of First Degree Murder, one count of Attempted Murder, and one count of Second Degree Kidnapping.
Rahn says that they continue to interview witnesses and the investigation is not complete. They will provide additional information as necessary.
Members of the AFSCME Council 61 union were showing solidarity for Schulte and McFarland at the Anamosa press conference.
During a press conference on Wednesday morning, Governor Kim Reynolds asked all Iowans to lift up the grieving families, friends, and colleagues in their prayers.
"It's hard to understand such a senseless loss, but it is my hope that the prayers of our state may offer some sense of peace and comfort during this difficult time," Reynolds said. "This is an extremely difficult situation, you've lost two of your own, and I want you to know that all of us stand united and ready to support you."