Police: Prisoner Who Escaped From Maryland Hospital Is Dead

An inmate who escaped from a Maryland hospital with a guard's gun and shot a driver in the head in a carjacking during his getaway is dead, Prince George's County Police told FOXNews.com

Kelvin Poke, 45, was shot and killed during his capture, apparently in an exchange of gunfire with officers near Cedar Hill Cemetery in Suitland, Md., according to a spokesman for Prince George's County Police Department.

Poke was pronounced dead at Prince George's Hospital Center, said Suzanne Almalel, a spokeswoman for Dimensions Healthcare System, which operates the hospital.

During a 4 p.m. EST press conference, Maryland State Police spokesman Greg Shipley declined to say whether Poke was dead or alive. He said he wasn't qualified to release those details and would only discuss his capture. Authorities captured him just after 3 p.m., according to Shipley.

Poke may have been with a woman when police caught up with him and the shootout ensued, though it wasn't clear whether she was an accomplice or someone he'd abducted, Shipley told reporters Wednesday.

A manhunt had been under way in the Washington, D.C., area for Poke, who was serving life in prison for kidnapping and other crimes. The inmate escaped from Laurel Regional Hospital with a guard's gun, then drove off in a stolen car after shooting the driver in the head.

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Poke then led authorities on a lengthy chase, during which he reportedly carjacked a second vehicle after abandoning the first.

"There is an active search under way in the District of Columbia," said Shipley earlier Wednesday. Federal authorities and the U.S. Marshals Service were involved.

Poke overpowered several corrections guards at the hospital and took two guns from them, apparently leaving one weapon behind, Shipley said. He was "shirtless and possibly shoeless" when he fled the hospital, according to Shipley.

The inmate left the building and stole a Toyota Camry after shooting out the car's window and hitting the driver in the head.

The driver was expected to survive, according to Shipley.

"His prognosis is good," Shipley said.

Poke then may have stolen a 2005 white Ford Explorer Sport Trac, which was carjacked at about 1 p.m. EST, around the time the Camry was recovered, according to Shipley.

But a witness later reported seeing the suspect driving a black Chevrolet Impala or a black Chevrolet Caprice, said Maryland and D.C. police. That ultimately may have been a false report.

Laurel Regional Hospital was placed on lockdown as police searched the area for the prisoner. Shipley described him as African American; 6 feet, 3 inches tall and last seen wearing prison-issued dark-colored jeans and white socks with no shirt and possibly no shoes.

Three schools near the hospital were also placed on lockdown, according to Tanzi West, a spokeswoman for Prince George's County Public Schools.

Police said Poke was serving life plus 40 years at Jessup Correctional Institution for kidnapping, carjacking and robbery. Poke was admitted to the hospital Monday after complaining of chest pains, according to authorities.

After overtaking the guards and stealing their guns, Poke fired several shots as he tried to break free of shackles around his legs.

A hospital security guard who responded to the sound of gunfire was also overpowered by Poke, who forced him down to the first floor and out the entrance so that he could escape, Shipley said.

Mark Vernarelli, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, said there was nothing to indicate the guards failed to follow proper procedure.

"There's no reason to think anything was amiss," Vernarelli said.

Poke fled the hospital in a blue 1993 Toyota Camry, with Maryland tags WVC433, Shipley said.

In November, a prisoner escaped from the Laurel hospital after taking a state trooper's gun and firing shots. He was captured hours later following an intense search.

FOX News' Catherine Donaldson-Evans, Tom Durante and The Associated Press contributed to this report.