Area police officials searched yesterday for one of two men who scrambled over a 12-foot, barbed wire-tipped fence and escaped from Lorton Reformatory Saturday afternoon, apparently untouched by eight shotgun blasts fired by a guard in a nearby tower, authorities reported.

One of the men, Jerome Cox, 27, who was serving 12 to 39 years for armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon, was captured Saturday night by corrections officials on the Route 123 bridge over the Occoquan River just outside the Lorton facility.

The second man, still missing, was identified as John Lee McNeil, 26, black, 5 feet seven inches, about 140 pounds, wearing a gray jacket and a white T-shirt. McNeil was serving 20 to 60 years for armed robbery.

Both climbed over the fence just before 5 p.m., according to Salanda Whitfield, administrator of the D.C. correctional facility's central compound. The fence surrounds a recreation area that Whitfield said was crowded with inmates at the time of the escape.

A corrections officer in Tower 8, about 70 yards from where the escape took place, emptied two four-round shotguns while the men were on the fence, Whitfield said. The guard could not fire as the men approached the fence because of the crowd behind them, Whitfield said.

More than two dozen D.C. corrections officers, Fairfax County and Virginia state police canvassed the area around the prison for several hours, Whitfield said.