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Manhunt for life-sentence escapee who may have stabbed officer several times

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina authorities are searching for an escaped maximum-security inmate who’s suspected of stabbing a police officer.

Dexter Lee of the South Carolina Department of Corrections say 47-year-old Michael Allen Williamson escaped at around 8:50 p.m. Wednesday from the McCormick Correctional Institution.

Later that night, Columbia police officials say a female officer responding to a shoplifting call was stabbed inside a Walmart store in Columbia, South Carolina, about 80 miles east of McCormick.

Authorities in Columbia, South Carolina say this man, seen in a Wal-mart there, stabbed a police officer in the store several times on night of December 7, 2016 and he may be Michael Alan Williamson, who escaped hours before from a South Carolina prison  WLTX-TV

CBS Columbia affiliate WLTX-TV reports the officer was stabbed several times as she was walking a suspect in the shoplifting out of the store. 

Lee says authorities think Williamson stabbed the officer but are still investigating. Police said in a news release that the officer is recovering from her injuries.

Williamson began serving a life sentence for armed robbery and assault and battery with intent to kill in 1997.

Lee says authorities are still investigating how Williamson got out of the prison, but CBS Augusta, Georgia affiliate WRDW-TV reports prison officials think he may have slipped out in a food truck.