Donnie Russell Rowe (left) and Ricky Dubose, the inmates accused of killing two Georgia correctional officers, were captured in Tennessee Thursday after three days on the run. (Credit: Channel 2 Action News)

‘I prayed like never before:’ Tennessee man details moments leading to captured inmates 

5:16 p.m.: At a press conference Friday afternoon, an emotional Patrick Hale said all he was concerned about was his daughter when inmates Donnie Russell Rowe and Ricky Dubose crawled through barbed-wire and into his yard Thursday evening. 

The two inmates had just crashed their car after leading police on a pursuit. 

“I prayed like I had never prayed before Hale said. He grabbed his gun, daughter and went out to the car. As he was about to pull away, he noticed the inmates edging closer, but they dropped to the ground. Hale believes they surrendered because his car resembles a police-type cruiser. 

Hale said contrary to what’s been reported, he didn’t pull his gun on the inmates. He did acknowledged he and his family fared better than others who came across Dubose and Rowe. 

Clinching his daughter tight as his wife stood by, Hale said: “My family means the world to me,” he said. “I was ready to what I could.” 

2:03 p.m.: GBI Director Vernon Keenan said the man who held the two fugitives would get the portion of a $130,000 reward from the state of Georgia. Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills said that same man should also get the portion of the reward that he controls.

RELATED: With Georgia fugitives in custody, who gets that hefty reward?

12:44 p.m.: Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills said he will pick up both inmates over the next few days. He would not say when exactly he will bring the inmates to Georgia.

“The gang situation is (a) concern of ours,” he said.

They will appear before a Putnam County judge as soon as they get to Eatonton.

12:01 p.m.: It’s not clear when authorities will bring Dubose and Rowe back to Georgia.

11:51 a.m.: Donnie Russell Rowe waives extradition to Georgia, too.

11:40 a.m.: The hearing has started. Ricky Dubose, the first to appear, waives extradition to Georgia.

UPDATE [11:30 a.m.]: Ricky Dubose and Donnie Russell Rowe, the Georgia inmates captured Thursday night in Tennessee after three days on the run, are expected to make their first court appearance. Dubose and Rowe are accused of overpowering two Georgia Department of Corrections officers on a transport bus and shooting and killing them in front of 31 other inmates who were on the bus.

ORIGINAL STORY: New audio captured the dramatic moment two inmates accused of killing two Georgia correctional officers were captured in Tennessee after three days on the run.

"Hold that car."

"10-4. I need you to 10-19 to this location."

“They have custody."

"If you're asking, we do have custody."  

The arrests of Ricky Dubose and Donnie Russell Rowe unfolded Thursday night with a home invasion, police chase, shootout and a civilian armed with an AR-15.

RELATED: A chase, a wreck and an AR-15: How two Georgia fugitives were caught in Tennessee

WHAT WE KNOW

Dubose and Rowe burst into the home of an elderly couple near Shelbyville, Tenn., and tied them up, authorities said.

After three hours — leaving the couple bound from 2 to 5 p.m. — Dubose and Rowe took off again with the couple’s cellphone and Jeep. As they drove away, a Tennessee trooper arrived at the couple’s home to perform a welfare check. 

The incident led to a more than 20-mile car chase from Bedford County along Tenn. 231, into Rutherford County and onto I-24, Tennessee officials said.

It ended in a wreck and gunshots on I-24 West in Shelbyville, which is about 58 miles southeast of Nashville.

No one was injured, but bullets hit several Rutherford County cruisers. 

One man witnessed part of the incident unfolding.

“All of a sudden, I look up from my phone and I see a state trooper,” witness Andy Held told Channel 2 Action News. “He's got an assault rifle. He's got his finger on the trigger and he's like, 'As soon as I tell you turn around, go the opposite way on the highway.'”

The suspects were captured after a car chase in Tennessee.

Deputies said the inmates fired at them and wrecked the vehicle near mile marker 91 after the chase reached 100 mph.

They fled into the woods, ended up in a homeowner’s yard and tried to steal another vehicle.

But the homeowner, a corrections officer at one point, noticed the men coming out of the woods with no shirts and tattoos, Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills said. 

“The man of the house came out with an AR-15,” and held the men and gunpoint, Sills said.

The homeowner lived in a community of military veterans with many gun owners, Channel 2 reported.


The fugitives still had the guns of the slain Baldwin State Prison officers, identified by the Georgia Department of Corrections as Sgt. Curtis Billue and Sgt. Christopher Monica, officers said.

"It happened the way we thought it would," Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vernon Keenan said. "They would do a crime and it would escalate."

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn said Dubose and Rowe’s capture was bittersweet. 

“There’s a lot of hurt people in Georgia that will feel the pain for years and years to come,” Gwyn said.

Governor Nathan Deal thanked law enforcement officials for capturing the inmates in a release late Thursday. 

“We will do everything in our power to support their loved ones, and we will not forget their sacrifice and service,” Deal said. 


THE ESCAPE AND EARLY SEARCH

The deadly shootings happened about 6:45 a.m. Tuesday on Ga. 16 in Putnam County, between Eatonton and Sparta, prompting officials to place all Department of Corrections facilities across the state on lockdown for the foreseeable future.

Dubose and Rowe overtook the guards, who were driving a transport bus, Sills said. 

One officer was driving the bus. The other was in a seat adjacent to him. There was a gate between the officers and the inmates. 

The two prisoners “went through the gate,” Sills said. “I can't tell you how the gate got open. It should have been locked. It may have been locked. I have no idea." 

After disarming the officers, one of the inmates shot and killed them, he said.

The shootings, Sills said, were caught on video.

Dubose and Rowe then carjacked a dark green 2004 Honda Civic and sped off in the stolen car, according to officials. The person in the Honda was not injured.

The first deputy on the scene was dispatched to Sparta Highway about 6:53 a.m., where the bus was stopped in the middle of the road at the bottom of the hill just west of Long Shoals Road, according to an incident report released Thursday.

The official found 31 other inmates on the bus in handcuffs. The engine was running.

They identified the accused men as Rowe and Dubose.

The escaped inmates were reportedly seen later Tuesday in a Family Dollar store on Eatonton Road in Madison, where they also ransacked a house, dumped their prison clothes, changed into civilian clothes and stole food. Madison is in Morgan County.

Just before 6 p.m. Wednesday, officers found the green Honda hidden in the woods not far from the scene of the burglary in Morgan County.

Dubose and Rowe stole a new vehicle in the same county, officials said.

That vehicle, a white, 2008 Ford F-250, was found abandoned Thursday in Moore County, Tenn., officials said.

WHAT’S NEXT

The inmates’ capture was a relief to Sills. 

“The burden of danger is off, and that’s the greatest relief we have,” he said. 

But the county’s work isn’t done.

Sills said he would personally make the trip to Tennessee to escort Dubose and Rowe back to Georgia.

Donnie Russell Rowe (left) and Ricky Dubose, the inmates accused of killing two Georgia correctional officers, were captured in Tennessee Thursday after three days on the run . (Credit: Channel 2 Action News)

Dubose and Rowe, who were being held in the Rutherford County jail in Tennessee, face charges in three counties in that state.

Sills said his heart was still with the officers, their families and other victims of the inmates’ alleged crimes. 

“I’m sorry it ever happened,” he said.

Services for Billue will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Wilkinson County High School Auditorium in McIntyre. 

Funeral services for Monica will take place at 2 p.m. Tuesday at First United Methodist Church in Milledgeville.

Flags across the state will fly at half-staff for Billue on Saturday and Monica on Tuesday, Deal said. 

MORE COVERAGE

A chase, a wreck and an AR-15: How two Georgia fugitives were caught in Tennessee

Police capture Georgia fugitives in Tennessee after three-day manhunt

Manhunt for escaped Georgia inmates goes nationwide

JUST IN: Funeral arrangements made for officer allegedly killed by two inmates

Sheriff says shooting of two Georgia corrections officers caught on video 

Massive Georgia manhunt for escaped prisoners who killed two 

Slain corrections officer was hardworking former Army captain 

Manhunt sparked by slaying of prison guards, inmates' escape  

Deal: ‘No effort will be spared’ to find fugitives in prison break 


—Staff writers Steve Burns, Raisa Habersham and Alexis Stevens contributed to this article.

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