CHRISTIANA, Tenn. — A Tennessee homeowner rejected the label of hero and instead pointed to Jesus Christ while speaking at a press conference on Friday about the capture of two escaped Georgia inmates who murdered two correctional officers while in transport to another prison.
Patrick Hale, 35, says that he had been alerted by friends on Thursday night that the convicts, Ricky Dubose and Donne Rowe, were in the area and had been in a shootout with police. He loaded his guns in the event that he needed to protect himself and his daughter. His wife was not home at the time.
Within minutes, Hale saw the two men cross a barbed-wire fence 300 yards from his back door. He called 911.
“I prayed like I have never prayed before,” Hale recalled.
Pondering whether he should stay or leave, Hale decided to grab his daughter and leave the property. As he began backing out of his driveway, he saw that the convicts had drawn even closer.
But then something strange happened.
“They began to take off their shirts and start waving at us as if to slow us down,” Hale outlined.
Much to his surprise, the men laid down in his driveway in a position of surrender. The situation took him aback.
“I realized I had two ex-cons wanted for murder who had just shot at law enforcement [and] who had nothing to lose, and for some reason they surrendered and laid down on the concrete in my driveway,” Hale said. “If that doesn’t make you believe in Jesus Christ, I don’t know what does.”
With the exception of taking a quick drink at the water faucet, the escapees remained on the concrete until police arrived three minutes later. The men never spoke a word to Hale.
While Hale believes that the convicts likely decided to surrender after mistaking his car for a police cruiser, he credited God with having His Hand in it all.
“[E]ven though we did have guns with us, we never had to use them. That to me is more than a God thing,” he said.
Dubose and Rowe had held an elderly couple hostage at gunpoint prior to the incident and stole several vehicles as they fled Georgia and crossed into Tennessee. Rowe was serving life behind bars and Dubose up to 20 years for armed robbery.
They were being transported with other prisoners to the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison when they decided to kill two corrections officers to make an escape from the transfer vehicle.