The owner of a private security firm that employed a guard who lost an inmate at a St. Louis-area casino hotel says that guard was not following protocol and has been fired.
Gordon Brooks, president and CEO of Guard Force International -- an Austin, Texas-based private security firm that bills itself as “the world’s leading provider of security solutions” on its website -- told ABC News the now-former guard Lamont Henderson picked up inmate Brian Jordan in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on his way to drop off two other inmates in St. Joseph, Missouri. Henderson was then headed to the St. Louis area to link with another guard who was bringing in inmates from northwest of St. Louis, according to Brooks. He was then slated to return to Texas with Jordan in tow.
“Yes, he was supposed to be in St. Louis,” Brooks told ABC News. “He was legit in what he was doing, but he went rogue doing his own thing.”
Instead, East St. Louis police Chief Jerry Simon told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Henderson checked into the Casino Queen Hotel on Sunday night with Jordan and another inmate in tow. He fell asleep and woke up less than an hour later to find Jordan and $5,200 in cash that he was carrying was gone. The other inmate remained behind -- the “only one who exercised any common sense,” Brooks quipped.
Surveillance cameras at the hotel captured Jordan walking out to the security firm’s van in the hotel parking lot shortly after 1:30 a.m. Monday, removing a cellphone and clothing, and then walking away, Simon told the paper.
Henderson didn’t call police for roughly five hours after he realized Jordan was gone, Simon said, telling detectives he was out looking for Jordan himself during that time.
Brooks said Henderson, who he said played for the Indianapolis Colts before signing on with Guard Force International as a reserve agent, had transported inmates at least 20 times for the firm and knew the protocol, which was not followed this case.
“It’s not protocol to take out inmates at any time. They shouldn’t be unsecured at any time,” Brooks said. “We pick up at secure facilities and we drop off at secure facilities. You don’t stop in public places.”
Investigators are looking into where the $5,200 in cash that Jordan stole from Henderson came from, including the possibility that the guard took the two inmates gambling -- a scenario that Brooks believes is likely in this case.
“No one carries $5,200 in cash on them,” Brooks told ABC News. “It would appear they were gambling and won the money.”
Jordan was picked up in a stolen vehicle in Oklahoma City and was being returned to Texas, where he had violated parole for methamphetamine possession, Simon said.
Brooks, who said Henderson has been “officially terminated,” questioned the former guard’s judgment in this case.
“You’re going to throw everything down the drain over an inmate that you don’t even know?” he questioned.
Police are continuing to search for Jordan, who is not thought to be armed or dangerous, Simon told the paper.
It is not yet clear if Henderson will be charged in this case. ABC News could not immediately locate Henderson for comment.
The Casino Queen Hotel did not respond to ABC News’ repeated requests for comment. East St. Louis police did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.