KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Two inmates who fled a Kansas prison face several charges in Missouri where they’re accused of trying to ambush the officers pursuing them and of attempting to kidnap the mayor of the small town where they were eventually captured after less than a day on the run.
Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd said Allen M. Hurst and Scott A. Gilbert were in the county jail on $5 million cash bond after being charged with 12 felonies Saturday. Hurst, 31, and Gilbert, 49, are accused of escaping from the minimum-security unit at the Lansing, Kan., Correction Facility on Friday, stealing a pickup truck and leading law enforcement on a 30-minute chase to a community across the Missouri River.
Zahnd said the men briefly stopped the stolen truck during the police chase and pointed a gun at Edgerton Mayor James Snook Jr., who was watching the pursuit from a street in his town, about 30 miles north of Kansas City. One of the men ordered Snook to get in the pickup, but Snook refused and safely fled the area.
“I don’t know what he said, but he obviously declined. … and he ran,” Zahnd said of the mayor.
Snook, reached at home Saturday, declined comment.
A third inmate, Randy Ridens, 57, who also escaped with the pair from the northeast Kansas prison located across the Missouri River about 30 miles southwest of Edgerton, was captured late Friday in Topeka, Kan. Authorities didn’t provide further details about how Ridens was apprehended.
Jeremy Barclay, spokesman for the Kansas Department of Corrections, said Saturday that Ridens has been returned to the Lansing prison. Additional charges have yet to be filed against him, Barclay said.
Corrections officials are investigating how the three inmates escaped from the large prison complex, which houses about 2,400 inmates. Barclay said the department will interview all three men about the escape.
“Inmates are usually helpful in detailing all of what they did,” he said.
Authorities used GPS signals to locate the stolen pickup in Platte City, according to a probable cause statement. Officers tried to stop Hurst and Gilbert after they left a McDonald’s, and the men eventually fired shots at four officers, hitting their cars, the statement said.
The officers, who were not injured, believed the two men were trying to ambush them, the probable cause statement said.
“At one point, officers radioed they perceived the suspects were luring officers into a trap by shooting the pursuing vehicles coming over a hill,” the statement said. “Within moments of that radio transmission, the fleeing vehicle had slowed on the blind side of a hill, allowing the passenger to take closer and more accurate shots at officers.”
Hurst and Gilbert stopped the truck at a rural home and bailed out of the vehicle after it became stuck in the yard of the house. They broke into the home, which had no one inside it at the time, the statement said.
After several hours of negotiations, Hurst and Gilbert walked out of the home and into police custody Friday about 5 p.m.
They’re each charged with several counts of first-degree assault of a law enforcement officer and armed criminal action, and one count each of attempted kidnapping, resisting arrest and tampering.
The men, who had been serving sentences for crimes including burglary and theft, could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted of the new charges, Zahnd said.
“The state of Missouri owes it to our law enforcement officers to do everything we can to protect those who are sworn to protect the rest of us,” the prosecutor said.
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