• BREAKING NEWS WEATHER RADAR: Track the storm with LIVE Doppler 7 MAX

Escaped Georgia inmates captured in Tennessee, officials say

The Georgia prison inmates who had been on the run after one of them shot and killed two Georgia State correctional officers were captured in Tennessee, according to officials.

Both the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal tweeted that the inmates are now in custody.

Det. Sgt. Dan Goodwin of the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office said at around 6 p.m., officers spotted a vehicle wanted in a carjacking in Shelbyville, Tennessee. The officers who spotted the vehicle called in other units, and a pursuit of the suspects occurred on Interstate 24, with the vehicles exceeding 100 mph. Two of the Sheriff's Office's vehicles with deputies inside were fired upon during the pursuit.

The vehicle then crashed, and the suspects went through a wooded area where they attempted to steal another car from a home, authorities said.

Bill Miller, of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, said the inmates were captured at the home after being help at gunpoint by the homeowner, who asked for help from his neighbor who also had a firearm. The suspects were detained until the authorities arrived.

A nationwide manhunt had intensified for the inmates -- Donnie Russell Rowe and Ricky Dubose -- who had been armed and on the run since Tuesday, officials said.

Putnam County, Georgia, Sheriff Howard Sills said earlier today the public was in "grave danger" and that authorities did not know where the dangerous inmates were. The FBI had asked for the public's help, calling the search expanding.

"We need the eyes and ears of everybody really in this country to be on the lookout for these two individuals," Sills said earlier today. "We are looking for them anywhere they might be on planet Earth."

Sills said a reward had climbed to $130,000 for information that led to their arrests, and officials warned that anyone helping the inmates would be prosecuted.

On Tuesday morning, inmates Rowe and Dubose, who were cellmates at Baldwin State Prison, overpowered two correctional officers who were driving a transport bus along Georgia State Route 16 between Eatonton and Sparta in Putnam County, about 80 miles southeast of Atlanta, according to the Putnam County Sheriff's Office.

The prisoners breached a protective gate on the bus to reach the officers at the front of the bus, before disarming and killing them both, the sheriff's office said. It is unclear at this time whether specifically Rowe or Dubose shot and killed the two correctional officers.

Rowe and Dubose, armed with the officers' weapons, then allegedly carjacked a Honda Civic from a resident who was driving by, and fled west toward Eatonton, the sheriff's office said. Police believed the suspects then stole a second car, a 2008 Ford F150 that had the keys still in it, in Morgan County, Georgia, about nine miles from the home where they were believed to have broken into to change clothes, authorities said Wednesday.

Local authorities in Jasper County, South Carolina, just north of Savannah, Georgia, said this afternoon that a potential sighting was reported in the area today, but South Carolina state investigators later said the sighting was not them.

The two men were cellmates and friends in prison, and may have planned their escape; however, the bus ride Tuesday morning was unscheduled, officials said.

At the time of the shooting, 31 other inmates were on board the bus, which was en route to a diagnostic facility when the escape took place. Those inmates have provided assistance to investigators, officials said.

Rowe is serving life without parole for armed robbery, the department of corrections said, and Dubose is serving a 20-year sentence for armed robbery.

The slain Baldwin State Prison officers were Christopher Monica, 42, who was hired in 2009, and Curtis Billue, 58, who was hired in 2007, Georgia Corrections said.

"Both officers were known for their unwavering commitment to their job and their love of family," the Georgia Department of Corrections said in a statement.

Georgia Department of Corrections Commissioner Gregory Dozier said, "Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the loss of two of our officers, who are our family, and our priority is to locate these fugitives and bring them to justice for this heinous act against those working to protect the public."

ABC News' Steve Osunsami, Benjamin Stein and Will Gretsky contributed to this report.

Related Topics:
newsabc newsnational
(Copyright ©2017 ABC News Internet Ventures.)

Load Comments