Patrick Hale is being called a hero after he was somehow able to get two dangerous criminals who had escaped from prison to surrender to him in his driveway. Hale had just been told by a friend that the fugitives were somewhere near his home in Christiana, Tennessee, but he never thought that they’d end up being in his driveway — or that he’d be the one to turn them into police.
“I was ready to do whatever I could. It was just me and my daughter that day,” Hale told the media.
Donnie Rowe, 43, and Ricky Dubose, 24, are now both in police custody. They were taken to Rutherford County jail in Tennessee. According to the Daily Mail, both men “waived their right to challenge their extraditions to Georgia” at a court hearing on June 16.
The FBI had previously advertised a $130,000 reward for anyone who provided a tip that lead to an arrest of Rowe and Dubose, but it has not been made clear if Hale will be receiving that money.
Here is what you need to know:
1. Hale’s First Instinct Was to Protect His Daughter
Hale was at home when he found out that these two dangerous criminals were in his neighborhood. He looked out his back door and happened to notice two men coming toward his home, about 300 yards away. In that moment, Hale knew that he had to make a decision. Hale quickly ran through options in his head and his very first instinct was to protect his family — namely his young daughter, Taylor. He said that he thought about going into a “panic room” at his home and being “trapped” or going out to the car and driving away. He ultimately chose the latter.
Before he left the house, he loaded his guns.
“I loaded every weapon I could in my house to be prepared in the event that they needed to be used. I…made the decision to either get in our panic room and be trapped or get in our car and head down the road. 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,” Hale told the media during a press conference.
Hale called 911.
2. Hale Believes the Fugitives Mistook His Car for a Police Cruiser
Hale went to his car with his daughter. As he backed out of his driveway, the fugitives took their shirts off and appeared to be surrendering. Hale believes that the two men thought that his car was a police car.
“I began to slowly back up as they came closer. At that point, I realized I had two ex-cons wanted for murder who just shot at law enforcement and nothing to lose. And for some reason, they started to surrender and lay down on their stomachs on my concrete driveway. If that doesn’t make you believe in Jesus Christ, I don’t know what will,” Hale told the media.
3. Although He Was Armed, Hale Never Took Out His Gun
There have been some reports online that claim that Hale was holding these two men in his driveway at gunpoint, but he made it clear that he didn’t have to take out his gun at all. For whatever reason, Dubose and Rowe just gave themselves up.
Not long after Hale called 911, about 45 officers showed up and were able to get handcuffs on Rowe and Dubose without issue.
Hale took photos of Rowe and Dubose, both of whom were laying face down in his driveway. The photos have been circulating online all day.
“‘True bravery is what’s caused us to stand before you tonight to talk about a successful capture instead of a tragic incident,” said Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director, Mark Gwyn.
4. Rowe & Dubose Escaped From Prison After Killing Their Guards
On Tuesday morning, Rowe and Dubose were on a prison bus headed to the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison when they decided to escape. The two had previously been cellmates at the Baldwin State Prison in Milledgeville, Georgia.
Dubose and Rowe were able to overpower two guards, identified as Sgt. Christopher Monica and Sgt. Curtis Billue, and grab their guns. The guards were later found dead; they had both been shot.
Rowe and Dubose then carjacked someone on state highway 16, and sped away, according to police.
A few hours later, Rowe and Dubose invaded a home in Madison, stealing clothes. That night, the two men stole a white pickup near Madison. The next day, Dubose and Rowe held an elderly couple hostage inside their home in Shelbyville, Tennesee.
“That couple ‘are lucky they’re alive,’ Bedford County Sheriff Austin Swing said. The fugitives ‘told them that they would probably be dead in 24 hours and they didn’t have anything to lose.’ The fugitives tied them up, and when the man tried to break free, they tied him up tighter, putting socks on his hands so he couldn’t loosen his bonds, Swing said. They also ate a beef stew the woman had been preparing, took valuables and clothing, and ordered them to concoct a story that would conceal their identities. ‘They threatened them that they would be back if they didn’t,’ Swing said,” the Daily Mail reports.
After about three hours had passed, Dubose and Rowe stole a Jeep belonging to the elderly couple. Police quickly caught up to them and a high-speed chase took place.
The suspects fired shots, hitting several police cars, but no officers were injured, according to Rutherford County Sheriff Michael Fitzhugh. Shortly after, the Jeep ended up crashing and the two men fled on foot, abandoning their weapons, and running right into Hale’s neighborhood around 7:00 p.m.
Rowe had been serving a life sentence (without parole) since 2002. Dubose had been in prison since 2015 after being sentenced to 20 years behind bars for armed robbery and other felonies.
5. Rowe & Dubose Both Face New Charges
Although both men had already been doing time, they will both be heading to trial after their prison escape. They will also be facing charges related to the murders of the two corrections officers, according to Georgia Department of Corrections Commissioner, Greg Dozier.
“They will be brought to justice swiftly for their heinous crime against our officers,” Dozier said in a statement.