April 12, 2010 -- A manhunt is underway in Houston and its suburbs for a man who was handcuffed in the back of a police car, but managed to steal the cruiser and the cop's shotgun.
"He is armed and dangerous," Jacinto Police Sgt. Dennis Walker told ABC News. "We're out there looking for him, trying to follow up on any leads."
Donnie Lewis Knight, 40, is on the run with a shotgun taken from the trunk of the police car, Walker said. He is wanted in connection to a string of burglaries in the area and on larceny charges in North Carolina. During the initial chase, he was driving a car reportedly stolen from Georgia.
Police in this Houston area town first attempted to pull over Knight for speeding early Sunday morning, but Knight bolted in a stolen silver Kia he was driving, Walker said. The high-speed chase led police down a Interstate 10 and finally ended when Knight rammed into another car driving on the road.
Knight then took off on foot, but was apprehended by a patrolman and handcuffed behind his back, Walker said. After locking Knight in the back seat of the police car, the patrolman went to check on the occupants of the vehicle that was struck in the wreck.
Police believe this is when Knight slipped the handcuffs under his legs and to the front of his body. He then managed to wiggle through a small hole in the "cage" between the front and back seats of the police car. One police officer said he saw the car shake and then it took off. The keys had been left in the ignition.
Cops: Fugitive Likely Used In-Car Radio to Avoid Pursuers
Other officers attempted to pursue the stolen vehicle. Walker said Knight turned off the vehicle lights and likely used the police radio inside the vehicle to slip away.
The police car was found about 10 hours later, abandoned with a shotgun missing from the trunk. The shotgun was loaded with bean bags at the time, but was capable of firing live shells, Walker said.
Cops Say Fugitive Who Stole Cruiser, Shotgun Is No Houdini
On Monday morning, more than 24 hours since the car was found, Walker said police are still following leads. He stopped short of calling Knight any kind of Houdini.
"I don't know about all that," he said.
Though Knight has been reportedly linked to a murder in Georgia, Walker said police have been unable to confirm that connection and said he does not have a known history of violence.
Walker said police were concerned that he allegedly took the shotgun and are trying to track down Knight as quickly as possible.