A Tennessee homeowner who encountered two escaped inmates last week minutes before they were captured after more than two days on the run, briefly spoke with the media Friday to clear up some things which he says have been blown out of proportion.
In a brief statement, 35-year-old Patrick Hale, confirmed that while he was armed, in contrast to what has been widely reported, he never had to draw his weapon when he encountered the inmates who were wanted for the murder of two Georgia corrections officers.
“We ended up with the best possible scenario compared to every other family that was affected by these two guys,” Hale told reporters as he stood with his wife, Danielle, and the couple’s young daughter.
Several hours before Hale’s encounter with escaped inmates Ricky Dubose and Donnie Russell Rowe, the duo broke into an elderly couple’s home, tied them up, and held them captive for three hours before leaving with the couple’s cell phones and Jeep.
As Dubose and Rowe were leaving the elderly couple’s home, a Tennessee state trooper was headed to the home for a welfare check. The chance encounter prompted a 10-mile chase, at the end of which the pair wrecked the Jeep.
After wrecking the vehicle, an exchange of gunfire erupted, but no one was injured. Dubose and Rowe then fled into a wooded area and soon thereafter was when they encountered Hale.
Hale said at 6:40 p.m. he received two calls from two friends warning him of the events that had just transpired with Dubose and Rowe.
“[At] 6:46, I loaded every weapon I could in my house to be prepared in the event that they needed to be used,” Hale said.
One minute later, Hale looked outside to see two white males crossing a barbed wire fence approximately 300 yards from the back door of his home. At that moment, Hale, who was home alone with his young daughter at the time, said he “prayed like I have never prayed before.”
At 6:48, Hale said he called 911, grabbed his daughter and made the decision to either get in the panic room and be trapped there or get in the car and try to get away. He chose the latter.
Hale said he and his daughter got into the car and quickly backed up, only to realize that the inmates had been running and were much closer to his house at that point. He also said the two took off their shirts and began waving them around as if to slow Hale down.
Nonetheless, Hale continued to slowly back up, but the inmates continued to get closer.
“At that point, I realized I had two ex-cons wanted for murder, that just shot at law enforcement and nothing to lose, and for some reason, they started to surrender and laid down on their stomachs in my concrete driveway,” Hale said, adding, “If that doesn’t make you believe in Jesus Christ, I don’t know what will.”
Hale noted that his car looks very similar to a police cruiser, which he believes contributed to the inmates’ decision to surrender.
“I had a weapon on me, but I never had to draw the weapon like it has been released in the news,” he said.
Hale said the inmates just simply laid down in his driveway and didn’t say a word. After about 20 seconds, however, they did get up, walk over to a faucet to get a drink of water, then returned and laid back down on the driveway. Upon hearing this, one reporter asked Hale what was going through his mind when the inmates got up for a drink.
Hale responded: “That I had a truck that was recently filled up with gas with the keys in the front seat with a loaded shotgun that I left in the front of my house and were they going to get to it or not.”
Hale then reiterated that he was armed but never had to use his weapon. He said within three minutes of his 911 call, more than 45 law enforcement officers showed up at his house.
Hale indicated he’s no hero, that he simply called 911. Nonetheless, the title has stuck, and now some are wondering whether the hero homeowner will receive the $130,000 reward that was being offered for information leading to the capture of the convicts.