Police Arrest Escaped Inmate - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Police Arrest Escaped Inmate

UPDATE: HILLIARD, Ohio (AP) -  Police arrested a prison inmate at a house where he is accused of holing up Monday with a hostage after overpowering a guard in a hospital and fleeing with the guard's gun and uniform, authorities said.

When police entered the room where Billy Jack Fitzmorris was at in the suburban Columbus home, he came out peacefully, police said. Authorities did not say who the hostage was. No one was injured.

Police brought a man in a white shirt out of the house with his hands cuffed behind his back, and he was taken away in a van surrounded by police motorcycles.

Fitzmorris, 34, was believed to have escaped hours earlier on foot from St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown, authorities said. Police believe he robbed two banks in central Ohio before going into the house in Hilliard, about 150 miles southwest of Youngstown, Hilliard police Lt. Evert Lambert said.

Two hospital workers, the guard and three other prison officers were held briefly in a hospital room during the escape but no one was injured, authorities said.

Fitzmorris had been held since February at the Northeast Ohio Correction Center in Youngstown for the U.S. Marshals Service, according to Corrections Corporation of America. The company that runs the prison said he was awaiting sentencing on a federal conviction for cocaine possession and intent to distribute cocaine.

Television footage showed a man breaking into the Hilliard house after abandoning a car nearby. A woman later climbed out a second story window and dropped to the ground as police arrived. Hilliard police had no information about the woman.

Mary Veach said she and a friend were riding motorcycles near the home before the standoff when they noticed a car speeding past them, apparently being pursued.

"There were three cop cars behind and then 12 cop cars," Veach said. "I'm really scared. What's so scary is that we were right behind the house."

Fitzmorris was taken to the hospital Saturday to be treated for a medical condition that was not life-threatening, Corrections Corporation spokeswoman Louise Grant said from the company's headquarters in Nashville, Tenn. She gave no details about the condition.

Fitzmorris had been under observation in his room Monday morning when the confrontation occurred, the company said. He ordered the guard to give up his pants, shirt, jacket and cap, Grant said.

Tina Creighton, a spokeswoman for St. Elizabeth hospital, said authorities searched the block-long complex room-by-room for Fitzmorris for several hours. The hospital's 400 patients would have noticed increased security, but no care was interrupted, she said.

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