SHELBYVILLE, Tennessee. – Two escaped inmates sought in the murder of two guards at a Georgia prison bus were caught Thursday after a chase and is held at gunpoint by a rural Tennessee homeowner’s vehicle, which they tried to steal, authorities said.
Donnie Rowe, and Ricky Dubose were held in the rural community of Christiana, Tennessee, the end of a multi-state manhunt that began Tuesday morning.
“True courage is what caused us to stand before you tonight to speak about a successful catch instead of a tragic incident,” Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn said at a press conference. “So I’m extremely grateful for everyone that is involved.”
Earlier in the day, the police near Shelbyville had responded to a call about a home invasion where a couple was held captive, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Nelly Miles said.
The suspects fled in the couple’s car and shot at police officers behind the facts on Interstate 24, about 50 km south-east of Nashville, Tennessee Highway Patrol spokesman Lt. Bill Miller said. Rutherford County Sheriff Michael Fitzhugh said that his deputies have no fire and none of them injured.
Rowe and Dubose crashed the car and saved, walk in the woods, Miller said. They then came in a home-set back on a long driveway.
The soldier said the homeowner looked outside and saw the two allegedly trying to steal his car. The man held the two at gunpoint with a neighbour he called for help, until the sheriff’s department could get there the arrest of the refugees.
The two were held in the Rutherford County jail.
Georgia Department of Corrections Commissioner Greg Dozier said in a press release that he was pleased with the two prisoners had been captured and no longer a threat to the public.
“They will be tried soon for their heinous crime against our officers,” he said, also expressing gratitude to all the officials of the law enforcement support and assistance in the search for the two men.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal applauded the “tireless efforts” of law enforcement, but also his thoughts to the families of the two officers, saying their pain continues.
“We will do everything in our power to support their loved ones, and we will not forget their sacrifice and service,” Deal said.
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokesman Josh DeVine said the bureau agents to take part in the processing of the scene.
The two men were on the run since the beginning of the Tuesday, when they are accused of the killing of Sgt. Christopher, Monica, and Sgt. Curtis Billue.
The two inmates overpowered and disarmed the guards on a bus at approximately 6:45 a.m. Tuesday, 33 of the prisoners were driven between prisons, the authorities said. One of them fatally shot the two guards, and then they jumped off the bus and carjacked a driver, who happened to pull up behind them on a highway 16 in Putnam County, southeast of Atlanta, authorities said.
The two prisoners then fled in the stolen Honda Civic and drove about 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of Madison, where they robbed a house, stealing food and clothing and leaving their jail uniforms behind around 10:30 pm on Tuesday.
Late Tuesday night, about 12 hours after the home burglary, the couple stole a Ford pick-up truck from a rock quarry about 9 miles (14.5 km) from the burglarized home when the trail had gone cold.
The FBI announced that a tip line and said pictures of the men and information about a $ 130,000 reward would appear on billboards in multiple states. TBI Gwyn said Thursday that he was not sure who would collect the reward.
The authorities have warned that the men, who had escaped with the guards 9 mm pistols, were considered to be very dangerous. Gwyn said investigators believe two weapons were found at the place where the men crashed the vehicle.
Monica and Billue were transfer sergeants at Baldwin State Prison. Monica had with the Georgia Department of Corrections since October 2009, and Billue since July 2007.
Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills said the escaped prisoners were within a protected area of the bus. He said that he did not know how they got through the locked cage to overwhelm the guards.
Protocol is to have two armed corrections officers on the bus, but the officers did not wear bullet-proof vests during transfers, Dozier said.
Both escapees were serving sentences for armed robbery and other crimes. The Department of Corrections, said Rowe, 43, had been serving life without parole since 2002, and Dubose, 24, began a 20-year sentence in 2015.
Associated Press writers Russ Bynum in Savannah, Ga., and Adrian Sainz in Memphis, Tennessee, contributed to this report.