Ashland, OH — An escaped inmate was captured on July 4 by a convenience store customer wearing an American flag shirt.
The takedown by the patriotic Good Samaritan was itself captured on surveillance video inside the Olivesburg General Store, about eight miles from the prison in north-central Ohio.
The convict had escaped from the Mansfield Correctional Institution the night before. He was serving a life sentence for rape and kidnapping charges according to NBC News. July 3 happened to be the inmate’s birthday.
The mugshot of the inmate, identified as James David Myers, was actually taped to the counter next to the register. Both a store employee and the customer, Mark Cooper, recognized the escapee, and Cooper immediately put him a full nelson until Ohio Highway Patrol officers arrived a few minutes later. Cooper, who is 6’4” and about 320 pounds, ID’d Myers when the escapee was at the counter making some random purchases and asking to use the telephone because his car broke down. Myers even “tried to use change from his pocket to cover up his picture before he was tackled,” AP reports.
Cooper went to his car and called 911 and then reentered the store. “I knew it was him as soon as I saw him… I made sure my wife and son were away from him and I just walked back over there and threw him to the ground,” he told the local ABC affiliate. Two other customers helped tie his hands.
Added Cooper: “I told him until the state troopers got there, he wasn’t going anywhere because still at that point, I didn’t know if he had a gun or not.” Cooper said he wasn’t a hero but was motivated to capture and pin the inmate by “Just keeping everybody safe and keeping people like him off the streets.”
Of the capture of the Mansfield inmate, a police spokeswoman said that “While we wouldn’t encourage people to take action regarding a dangerous criminal who had just escaped from prison, you know, we understand that they did what they had to do. We’re thankful to get him into custody without incident and get him back to the prison without anybody getting hurt.”
Do you think this flag-wearing public spirited citizen should receive an award from Ohio authorities for tackling the escaped prisoner on July 4?