Manhunt Ends For Escaped P.G. County Inmate

LAUREL, Md. (Jan. 2, 2007) – The search is over for an armed prison inmate who escaped this morning after assaulting correctional officers and a security guard at a Prince George’s County Hospital before wounding one man and carjacking two vehicles.

The inmate is identified as Kelvin Poke, 45, described as an African American male, 6’3”, 255 pounds. He was an inmate at the Jessup Correctional Institution, serving a sentence of life plus 40 years. Poke was last seen wearing Division of Correction-issued dark-colored jeans and white socks.

Shortly after 8:00 a.m. today, Prince George’s County Police were called and responded to the Laurel Regional Hospital, Contee Road, Laurel, Md, for an escape. Responding officers found that Poke had been a patient at the hospital and escaped from the custody of Division of Correction officers. Prince George’s County Police immediately initiated a multi-jurisdictional police search for the escapee.

The preliminary Maryland State Police investigation indicates Poke was admitted to the hospital shortly after noon yesterday. A team of two correctional officers, one of whom was armed with a .38 caliber revolver, was assigned to guard him in his fourth floor room.

Poke initiated his escape this morning by assaulting the armed correctional officer in his room and disarming him. A second team of correctional officers nearby with another inmate responded to the room, but the armed officer on that team was also disarmed by the inmate.

Poke, who was not wearing handcuffs at the time, is then believed to have fired several shots from one of the guns while in the hospital hallway. No one was struck by the gunfire. It is possible Poke was disengaging the leg shackles he was wearing.

An unarmed hospital security guard heard the shots and responded to the area. Poke confronted the guard and took him as a hostage at gunpoint. Poke and the security officer went down the stairs to the first floor. Witnesses said Poke was holding a gun to the head of the security officer as he walked out the front door.

A 51-year-old Prince George’s County man was waiting outside the hospital entrance to pick up an employee in his 1993 Toyota Camry. As Poke approached that vehicle, police say he released the guard and fired a shot through the driver’s side window. The man was struck in the head, but was able to get out of the car and run into the hospital. Poke fled in the Toyota. An intense police search involving multiple agencies ensued throughout the Washington Metropolitan area.

Shortly before 1:00 p.m. today, Metropolitan Police recovered the Toyota Camry in the 1100-block of 1st St. NE, Washington, D.C. At about the same time, police learned of a carjacking that had just occurred nearby. The driver of a 2005 Ford Explorer Sport Trac was carjacked. It is believed Poke was responsible for that carjacking. The search for Poke continued throughout the afternoon.

Shortly before 3:30 p.m., Prince George’s County Police located Poke and a confrontation occurred.

Source: Maryland State Police

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