Convict Dead After Escaping Maryland Hospital

Published: January 1, 2008

LAUREL, Md. – A 45-year-old convicted kidnapper who escaped from a Maryland hospital after stealing a pair of guns from two separate security guards, carjacking a vehicle in the parking lot and shooting a man in the head Jan. 2 was killed by police hours after fleeing.

The escapee, Kelvin Poke, an inmate at the Jessup Correctional Institution serving life plus 40 years for kidnapping, carjacking and robbery, complained of chest pains slightly after noon on Jan. 1, according to the Maryland State Police.

Poke was then taken to Laurel Regional Hospital, eight miles away from the prison. The following day, around 8:15 a.m., he attacked a correctional officer who was watching him in his fourth floor hospital room. Poke then took the officer’s .38-caliber revolver and shot through the shackles on his legs. He was not wearing handcuffs.

Greg Shipley, a spokesperson for the Maryland State Police said two other guards, both of whom were escorting another prisoner to the hospital, came to assist the overpowered officer. Poke then attacked them and disarmed the officer carrying a weapon.

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A security guard who had heard gunshots entered the room, and Poke, now armed with two weapons, brought the guard to the lobby and forced him to lie on the ground as he fled the hospital.

The inmate rushed to the parking lot and approached a 1993 blue Toyota Camry. Poke shot the driver’s side window out, causing the unidentified 51-year-old driver to be shot in the head. He then sped off with the vehicle, after forcing the driver out of the car. Officers said the victim’s wound was not life-threatening.

Authorities found the stolen vehicle shortly before 1 p.m. Around the same time, a white Ford Explorer was reported missing.

Officers found Poke and the Explorer 30 miles from the hospital at a cemetery at approximately 3 p.m. The vehicle had flat tires.

Poke began opening fire and police retaliated. Poke also had a female in the car with him. Police believe the woman was a victim. She had minor injuries.

Poke was pronounced dead at the hospital. The hospital and three local schools were placed on lockdown after Poke’s escape.

In November, another prisoner escaped from Laurel Regional Hospital after obtaining a state trooper’s gun. He was captured several hours after his escape.

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