MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Standing before more than a dozen microphones from media outlets across the country, the Tennessee man police said helped end the crime spree of two escaped Georgia inmates told his story about their Thursday night arrests.
"My family means the world to me. I was ready to do whatever I could. It was just me and my daughter that day," said Patrick Hale.
The 35-year-old man faced a long row of reporters and a wall of cameras, accompanied by his wife and little girl. Hale called the press conference to shrug off reports he was a hero, and said he wanted to set the record straight about the series of events that happened within about a half hour.
"Hearing that you're a hero for just 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 and that to me is more than a God thing," said Hale.
Hale said he was at his Rutherford County home with his daughter around 6:40 p.m. Central when he got two calls from friends telling him about the men who shot at deputies as they led the officers on a 10-mile chase down Interstate 24. Those men, later confirmed by police to be Ricky Dubose, 24, and Donnie Russell Rowe, 43, wrecked close to his home.
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Within 5 minutes, Hale said he loaded every weapon in his house just in case he needed them. A minute later, he saw two white men hop over a barbed wire fence about 300 yards from his back door.
"I prayed like I never prayed before," Hale recalled.
He said he faced a difficult decision, not just for his safety, but for his daughter. The split second decision: Should he go to his panic room and potentially be trapped with two dangerous men on his property or get into his vehicle to head down the road?
"I grabbed my sweet daughter and we made the decision," said Hale.
Hale said he chose to get into his vehicle, which was fully gassed and had a loaded shotgun, and leave. It was a decision that would keep them safe and prevent two felons from gaining another advantage. But as he backed up, he saw the two men were much closer. He said they took off their shirts and began to wave at them as if to get his attention. Hale continued to back up, but what happened next might just be considered a miracle.
"At that point, I realized I had two ex-cons wanted for murder that just shot at law enforcement and had nothing to lose, and for some reason, they started to surrender and laid down on their stomach in my concrete driveway," said Hale.
Hale believed they surrendered because his vehicle looks like one used by local law enforcement.
"If that doesn't make you believe in Jesus Christ, I don't know what will," said Hale.
Hale said one of the men did get back up, went over to a water faucet, and took a quick drink, before getting back down on the concrete. After three minutes, his property was swarmed by more than 45 officers, for which he said he was very grateful.
"This is the reason why I was really excited the police came as quickly as they did," Hale said as he picked up his little girl, her hair braided with bows and sporting a "Hello Kitty" backpack.
Hale humbly said of all the families Dubose and Rowe encountered since their escape, they experienced the best possible outcome.
He also added that he was not aware of a reward in the case until well after his encounter.