PRINCE ALBERT, Sask. – Police are on the hunt for Braidy Vermette, a murder suspect who escaped custody in Prince Albert after two masked attackers used a gun and bear spray to ambush two corrections officers.

Sgt. Brandon Mudry said Vermette, 28, was being taken to a hospital Wednesday night for treatment of a self-inflicted arm injury when two masked attackers surprised the two corrections officers who were escorting him.

One attacker hit the guards with bear spray when they got out of their vehicle and the other brandished a gun.

"Neither correctional officer was seriously injured but they were both contaminated with bear mace," Mudry said.

"Right now the police service considers Vermette to be armed and we caution people not to approach him.”

Following the ambush, Vermette and the attackers drove away in a dark-coloured SUV. Vermette was wearing arm and leg shackles when he was being escorted, according to Mudry.

Vermette was being held at the Prince Albert Provincial Correctional Centre on a first-degree murder charge in connection to the 2015 death of Troy Napope. He was set to appear in court on Monday.

Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Justice says the escape was premeditated and that an investigation is underway into how it was planned.

The investigation will involve reviewing recordings of inmate phone calls — specifically calls that pertain to Vermette and people who may have been in his unit — to determine what level of planning went into the escape, said ministry spokesperson Drew Wilby.

Corrections officers do not carry guns in Saskatchewan, according to Wilby. Guns can pose a serious safety threat if they end up in the wrong hands, he said.

Officers can carry pepper spray or batons, but he would not reveal if that was the case in this situation.

Vermette has a history of run-ins with police in Prince Albert. He pleaded guilty in 2010 to assaulting a police officer and a correctional officer in 2009 and was sentenced to seven months in jail.

He was charged in the Napope case earlier this month. Napope was last seen in June 2015 and his burned car was later found northwest of the city.

Vermette is considered armed and dangerous, and should not be approached, according to police. He is described as 6-2 and 240 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.

Prince Albert police are working with RCMP in the search.

Anyone with information about Vermette’s whereabouts is asked to call the Prince Albert Police Service at 306-953-4222 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.Service at 306-953-4222 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.