Cops Kill Prison Lifer Who Escaped Hospital

The man died during a gunfire exchange with authorities in Maryland.

ByABC News
January 2, 2008, 12:17 PM

Jan. 2, 2008 — -- This aftertoon Maryland police shot and killed a carjacker who had earlier escaped from a local hospital after stealing a pair of guns from two guards, shooting a man in the head and carjacking two separate vehicles.

Officers for the Prince George's County Police Department came across a white SUV around 3 p.m. driven by Kelvin Poke, a 45-year-old man who had been serving a life sentence plus 40 years for previous kidnapping and carjacking convictions.

Authorities followed Poke into a local cemetery, where he began to fire at the officers. "They returned fire," Prince George's police spokesman Henry Tippett told ABC News. "He was shot and killed."

No officers were injured in the exchange. An unidentified woman was traveling with Poke. Tippett said it's unclear whether she was voluntarily traveling with the escapee or whether she was a carjacking victim.

Poke had made a dramatic escape from a Maryland hospital this morning, stealing a pair of guns from two different guards and carjacking a vehicle in the parking lot before taking off from the Laurel Regional Hospital. Poke may have shot through his prison shackles, according to Maryland State Police spokesman Greg Shipley.

Poke left the hospital, which was temporarily locked down, approached a blue Toyota Camry driven by an unidentified 51-year-old man and shot him in the head before fleeing in the car. The wound was not life-threatening, police said. The window of the driver's side door was shot out by the escapee.

Authorities later announced that the Camry had been recovered and that they believed Poke had carjacked a second vehicle, a white Ford Explorer Sport Trac. He was described as shirtless and shoeless and was last seen wearing prison-issued, dark-colored jeans.

Poke had recovered one of the .38-caliber guns Poke allegedly used, but have not found the other. "We believe at this time, he's armed with one handgun," Shipley said. It's unclear if that was the weapon Poke fired at authorities before he was killed.

Poke was serving a life sentence plus 40 years at the Jessup Correctional Institution in Jessup, Md., according to the state's Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

Poke's escape happened more than a day after he was transferred to the Laurel Regional Hospital, Dec. 31. Poke was admitted around 2 a.m. for chest pains.

He was being treated in a fourth floor unit in the same area as patients in the general hospital population.