Last week, Faithwire reported on the miraculous capture of Georgia inmates Donnie Rowe and Ricky Dubose, who led law enforcement officials on a three-day interstate manhunt that ended in Christiana, Tennessee.
The escaped convicts, who are accused of murdering two prison guards, were apprehended Thursday evening at the home of a man later identified as 35-year-old Patrick Hale.
According to initial police reports, Hale held the fugitives at gunpoint while his neighbor stood by as reinforcement until police arrived to arrest them. But speaking Friday at a press conference at the Rutherford Sheriff’s Office, Hale gave a different account that makes Thursday’s capture all the more extraordinary.
Upon learning that Rowe and Dubose had been spotted near his neighborhood, Hale began preparing for the worst.
“At 6:46 I loaded every weapon I could in my house to be prepared in the event that they needed use,” he said, according to the New York Daily News.
Moments later, Hale spotted the two convicts hopping a barbed-wire fence, not far from his home.
“At 6:47 p.m., I prayed like I have never prayed before,” he said.
— Jesse Knutson (@JesseKnutsonNC5) June 16, 2017
Hale then decided to call 911, grab his young daughter, and head to his car. But as he was pulling out of his driveway, he noticed how close the men had gotten.
Spotting his vehicle, Hale said Rowe and Dubose “began to take off their shirts and start waving at us as if to slow us down.”
He continued backing out, but “for some reason they started to surrender and laid down on my concrete driveway,” he said.
Minutes later, 45 police officers arrived to arrest Rowe and Dubose, whom authorities had labeled “dangerous beyond description.”
Despite earlier reports, Hale claimed he never had to use any of his weapons to hold the suspects. He believes the two mistook his car for a police cruiser.
“If that doesn’t make you believe in Jesus Christ I don’t know what will,” Hale said.
Speaking at the press conference Saturday, Hale said he was surprised to be labeled a hero “for simply calling 911 and explaining what happened and just backing up.”
“Even though we did have guns with us, we never had to use them,” he said. “That to me is more than a God thing.”
Now, Hale’s prayers might pay off in more ways than one. Though he wasn’t aware of this when he helped lead police to the inmates, law enforcement had announced a $130,000 reward for information leading to their capture.
In a statement released Saturday, Putnam County Sheriff Howard R. Sills announced that he is “confident” that “there will be payments made.”
“We are presently looking into the facts about who or whom may be entitled to the reward and will make an announcement when those matters are decided,” Sills said.
In a separate statement released Friday, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation noted that “the reward will be dispersed at the appropriate time,” adding that “the bravery of the Tennessee civilians contributed to the apprehension of both inmates.”