It’s unknown why two escaped convicts laid down and surrendered in the driveway of Tennessee resident Patrick Hale, 35, but he’s now being called a hero.
The prisoners, Donnie Rowe, 43, and Ricky Dubose, 24, escaped out of a prison bus from Georgia’s Baldwin State Prison where both were serving long sentences for armed robbery and other felonies early Tuesday. According to authorities, they were able to get through a door that should have been locked, separating the guards from the inmates on the bus.
The two overpowered and shot dead Sgt. Christopher Monica and Sgt. Curtis Billue with their own weapons. They then proceeded to lock up 31 other inmates before taking off with the guards’ 9mm Glock pistols and carjacking a driver who had the bad luck to have pulled up behind them.
The fugitives eventually invaded a home in Shelbyville, holding a married couple hostage for several hours while they ate their dinner and robbed them.
Bedford County Sheriff Austin Swing said the couple is lucky to have survived the harrowing ordeal. He noted that the convicts “told them that they would probably be dead in 24 hours and they didn’t have anything to lose.”
They left the couple unharmed, but stole their Jeep, which was spotted by police. After a high-speed chase for 20 miles through Tennessee in which the suspects shot at police, the pair crashed the vehicle before running away from the scene near the community of Christiana, Tennessee.
Warned that the fugitives were in his neighborhood, Hale got ready. “I loaded every weapon I could in my house to be prepared in the event that they needed to be used. I called 911 and made the decision to either get in our panic room and be trapped or get in our car and head down the road,” he recalled.
“I grabbed my sweet daughter and got in the car… we saw the men had been running and were much closer to my house now. They took off their shirts and waived them at us as if to slow us down,” said Hale, noting that his vehicle resembles a police cruiser. “I realized I had two ex-cons wanted for murder who had just shot at law enforcement who had nothing to lose and for some reason they surrendered and laid down on the concrete in my driveway.”
He added, “If that doesn’t make you believe in Jesus Christ, I don’t know what does.”
Hale expressed relief that he never had to pull out his weapon while he waited for police to come pick them up. “I cannot tell you how grateful I was to see them arrive,” he said, adding that more than 45 police officers were on the scene within three minutes.
Hale took a picture of the escapees laying face-down on his driveway, which was exactly how they looked when they inexplicably surrendered to him.
Police escorted the two to the Rutherford County jail, where they waived their right to challenge their extraditions to Georgia.
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