ATLANTA - Law enforcement officials said the two escaped inmates who investigators said shot and killed two Georgia corrections officers during their escape on Tuesday morning from a prison van in Putnam County have been captured.
Ricky Dubose and Donnie Russell Rowe surrendered near Murfreesboro, Tennessee after law enforcement officials said a day-long crime spree for the pair ended at the end of a gun of an alert homeowner.
"They were apprehended. They are not harmed. No one is harmed. Long story short, the truck that was stolen here was abandoned in Moore County Tennessee, which is Lynchburg," said Sheriff Sills.
Law enforcement officials said Dubose and Rowe performed a home invasion of an elderly couple in Bedford County around 2 p.m. Central on Thursday after ditching their stolen white 2008 Ford F-250, which was taken between 10 and 11 p.m. Tuesday from the Morgan County quarry, in Moore County, Tennessee and stealing another vehicle.
Tennessee authorities said the pair held the elderly couple hostage for nearly three hours before tying them up and stealing their car. Law enforcement is crediting the ability of the couple breaking free of their bonds and calling 911 with law enforcement being able to put out a BOLO for their vehicles.
That vehicle was spotted around 6 p.m. Central by deputies in Rutherford County, Tennessee. The vehicle fled from deputies and ended up on Interstate 24 westbound, running from police on a 10-mile chase with speeds well over 100 mph. Deputies said at least two patrol vehicles were fired upon during the chase, but no shots were fired in return.
"Shortly afterwards there was a chase ensued with that car that they'd stolen in Bedford County with deputies and other law enforcement personnel in Redford County. They wrecked the car somewhere in the interstate and got out and fled into the woods," said Sills.
Investigators said the vehicle wrecked around the 91 mile marker and deputies said the inmates inside ran down a long driveway to a home where they tried to take the homeowner's vehicle. A spokesperson for the Tennessee Highway Patrol said that homeowner held the pair at gunpoint until deputies arrived.
No law enforcement officers were injured. Dubose and Rowe were both taken into custody without further incident or injury.
"I'm sorry it ever happened. I'm sorry these people in Tennessee suffered whatever they suffered with, I'm glad they weren't injured but I can assure you they were traumatized by these hoodlums coming into their home. I'm sorry as I can be and my sympathies to the families," said Sheriff Sils.
The pair will face extradition back to Georgia. A spokesperson for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation promised the two will be headed back to the state very soon.
Authorities said they still are not sure who was the gunman that killed Sgt. Christopher Monica, 42, and Sgt. Curtis Billue, 58, during the Tuesday's escape.
"Earlier tonight, with the assistance of our law enforcement partners in Tennessee, dangerous fugitives were captured and taken into custody," Gov. Nathan Deal was quoted as a saying in a press release sent Thursday evening. "Rest assured, justice will be served. My sincere thanks to our local, state and federal law enforcement officers who assisted in the manhunt. Because of their tireless efforts, the public is safe. The pain endured by the families and loved ones of Sergeant Christopher Monica and Sergeant Curtis Billue endures, however. We will do everything in our power to support their loved ones, and we will not forget their sacrifice and service."
Wednesday, investigators said they found the green Honda the inmates carjacked moments after killing Monica and Billue. Authorities think the inmates drove the car to a house in Madison, broke in, ransacked the place and stole food and clothes. The Honda was ditched down an embankment behind a Rite Aid about a mile away.
According to the Putnam County Sheriff's Office, the two prisoners were among 33 prisoners being transported between prisons. Around 6:45 a.m. Tuesday, while the transport bus was traveling on Georgia Highway 16, authorities said Dubose and Rowe attacked Monica and Billue.
Investigators said some type of physical altercation took place before Dubose and Rowe overpowered the guards, and one of the inmates then fatally shot them. Authorities have not said which of the inmates opened fire.
Sills said the two inmates got a head start by taking and tossing the Honda driver's cell phone, and leaving the other 31 prisoners locked inside the bus. Those inmates were taken to the Putnam County Sheriff's Office Tuesday afternoon to be questioned about the shooting.
The protocol is to have two armed corrections officers on the bus, but the officers don't wear bullet-proof vests during transfers," Corrections Commissioner Greg Dozier said.
The guards were moving the inmates to a diagnostics center in Jackson, where their next placement was to be determined, Dozier said, adding that inmates do not know their transfer dates ahead of time.
Authorities said because law enforcement caught the pair, the $130,000 reward being offered for their capture will be left unpaid.