CRIME

Hero homeowner loaded guns, prayed before inmate escapees surrendered

The hero Tennessee homeowner who deputies say helped nab two escaped inmates wanted in the killings of two prison guards says it was divine intervention that helped him.

“I realized I had two ex-cons wanted for murder who had just shot at law enforcement who had nothing to lose and for some reason they surrendered and laid down on the concrete in my driveway,” Patrick Hale, 35, of Christiana, said Friday. “If that doesn't make you believe in Jesus Christ, I don't know what does.”

Hale told a news conference that he heard Thursday that escapees Donnie Rowe, 43, and Ricky Dubose, 24, were in the area he got his guns ready. 

“I loaded every weapon I could in my house to be prepared in the event they needed to be used,” he said, according to Fox 17 Nashville.

Moments later he saw them climb a barbed wire fence and approach his home in rural area in southern Tennessee.

“I prayed like I had never prayed,” he said.

He said he then called 911 and “grabbed my sweet little daughter.”

HERO HOMEOWNER HOLDS ESCAPED GEORGIA INMATES AT GUNPOINT UNTIL ARRESTS

He thought of running back in the house to hide in a panic room. Instead he decided to leave.

"We got in the car and backed up quick only to find the gentlemen had been running and got much closer to my house," Hale said, according to the Tennessean. "They began to take off their shirts and wave them at us as if to slow us down."

He thinks they may have thought his vehicle belonged to law enforcement.

Hale said the that while waiting for deputies to arrive the fugitives got up to get a drink of water faucet and then laid back down.

He said the deputies arrived in about three minutes.

“I cannot tell you how grateful I was to see them arrive,” Hale said.

He said he isn’t sure he is a hero, Fox 5 Atlanta reported.

“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,” Hale said.

The manhunt for Rowe and Dubose focused on Tennessee Thursday evening after the fugitives invaded a home in Shelbyville, held a man and his wife hostage for several hours and fled in their Jeep.

Their accused of killing two guards on a prsion transfer bus from Baldwin State Prison early Tuesday 

"We've had an armed home invasion," the man told a 911 dispatcher after he freed himself . "It's the two people from Georgia, escapees. They're in a black Jeep Cherokee Trailblazer. We need help out here quick ... hurry!"

His wife can be heard sobbing as he tries to reassure her, saying: "It's all right. You've survived. You've survived. You did it. You did a good job. Come here and let me hold you."

Deputies spotted the Jeep on I-24 and chased it for 20 miles at high-speed, Tennessee Highway Patrol spokesman Lt. Bill Miller said.

Rutherford County Sheriff Michael Fitzhugh said the suspects fired shots, striking several cruisers, but his deputies weren't hit and didn't return fire.

The chase ended with a crash on the highway.

With deputies in hot pursuit, the suspects ran through trees to Hale's property.

They guns they had stolen from their guards were left behind in the wrecked Jeep.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.