Escaped Inmate Takes Hostages; Releases Hostages, Passes Out
PAULS VALLEY, Okla. (AP) -- A Garvin County Jail inmate who overpowered a deputy and took his gun held three women hostage in a drug store before letting them go unharmed Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.
The last hostage was released at 3:20 p.m., about three hours after the ordeal began.
Phillip Hill, arrested on drug charges about a month ago, passed out after ingesting and injecting drugs in the pharmacy, Sheriff Bill Roady said. Officers went in to get him after the third hostage had walked out.
The sheriff said authorities knew by Hill's slurred speech that it was only a matter of time before he passed out.
"He's hooked on drugs," Roady said. "It's pretty obvious -- he didn't try to get out of the country, he went straight to the drug store."
Hill was arrested on a possession of a controlled substance charge after selling drugs at a motel, the sheriff said. The drugs were stolen from a Texas pharmacy during an armed robbery, Roady said.
Inside the pharmacy, Hill was ingesting promethazine and taking hits of morphine, officers said.
Hill overpowered a deputy who had taken him to a doctor's office Tuesday morning. He shoved the deputy against a wall outside the doctor's office, then grabbed his gun and made the deputy uncuff him and drive him to the pharmacy, the sheriff said.
Hundreds of townspeople gathered in a grocery store parking lot across the street to watch the scene. Several streets were closed around the store. The courthouse, which holds the jail, was locked down shortly before noon.
Debbie English, an employee of Reavis Drug Store, said she saw a man wearing black and white stripes rushing into the store.
"He just bolted through the door right past me and never said a word," she said. "Then I saw an officer coming in behind him and he had his hands out with blood dripping off of them and blood all over his uniform. He looked all torn up and black and blue, like he was in shock."
English said the man ran to the pharmacy, demanded the keys to the store and locked them inside. He later let English and the deputy leave the store.
Authorities said the deputy was treated at a hospital and released.
The names of the hostages were not released.