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Thursday
Apr042013

Escaped Texas Inmates May be Armed After SUV Stolen

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(HOPKINS COUNTY, Texas) -- Two "extremely dangerous" inmates who have escaped from an East Texas jail are feared to have stolen a vehicle with a pistol inside, leading authorities to widen the search and put area schools in lockdown.

Brian Tucker, 44, and John King, 39, escaped from Hopkins County Jail in Sulphur Springs, Texas, around 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday. About 4 p.m. Wednesday a 2010 black Saturn Vue was stolen from outside a home in Sulpher Springs.

"Right now we're trying to diligently go after these guys," Hopkins County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Brad Cummings told ABC News. "We've received a lot of calls with sightings of this SUV. It has been a cold trail so far, by time officers get there, the vehicle is gone."

Tucker is facing capital murder charges for strangling a man with shoelaces and King is charged with evading arrest, burglary and substance possession. Cummings said King received a 40 year prison sentence earlier this week. Cummings said that inside the stolen Saturn was a .22 caliber derringer pistol, and if it was Tucker and King who stole the car, they are now armed.

"We are unaware if it's related to these two fugitives. It's possible that it might be them, or it might be something different," he said. "We're telling people to be cautious. If them, they're extremely dangerous.

The search for the two has become a multi-agency effort over the past few days. Cummings said that the manhunt involves the police forces for several surrounding counties, as well as Texas Rangers and U.S. marshals.

All schools are in lockdown in Hopkins County, he said.

Authorities believe the inmates escaped from a recreation yard during some allotted recreational time. They think the men squeezed through a part of the surrounding fencing when a guard assigned to watch them from a window looked away.

Their black and white prison suits were found on the railroad tracks behind the jail. Cummings said that underneath the prison suits, inmates wear a white undershirt and a white pair of boxers.

Tucker is 5-foot-7 and about 170 pounds. He has brown eyes, brown hair and multiple tattoos. King is 5-foot-8 and 165 pounds. He has black hair, hazel eyes and multiple tattoos.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio