Ariana Maia Sawyer , USA TODAY NETWORK
NASHVILLE — Authorities in Rutherford County captured two Georgia fugitives accused of double homicide after they tied up a couple and led police on a chase that closed Interstate 24 Thursday.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal confirmed the capture of Donnie Rowe, 43, and Ricky DuBose, 24, via Twitter.
CAPTURED: Fugitives in custody following car chase in TN. More info will be forthcoming.— Governor Nathan Deal (@GovernorDeal) June 16, 2017
Authorities launched a nationwide manhunt Tuesday for Dubose and Rowe after the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said they fatally shot two guards on a prison transport bus before carjacking their way to freedom.
Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills said the inmates fled the bus near Eatonton, about 70 miles southeast of Atlanta. Sills said investigators were trying to determine how the killers got out of the inmate cage and into the driver's compartment.
According to Bedford County Sheriff Austin Swing at a press conference, Dubose and Rowe ditched a vehicle at the base of a hill in Shelbyville, covering the car with grass and branches.
At the top of the hill, they forced their way into a home at gunpoint, Swing said. The couple who live there spent the next three hours tied up while the fugitives ate their beef stew and pilfered their valuables.
"They are extremely traumatized," he said.
The couple suffered minor injuries from the rope used to tie them up and one of them was choked at one point when he tried to escape.
At about 5:30 p.m. CT, Swing said Dubose and Rowe decided to leave and stole the couple's Jeep Cherokee. Some 15 minutes later, the two managed to escape their bonds and call police.
When authorities with the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office caught up with the wanted men, the ensuing high speed chase and foot pursuit shut down Interstate 24 about 10 miles south of Murfreesboro.
During the chase, the fugitives fired several rounds at RCSO deputies, according to Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokesman Josh DeVine. Deputies did not fire back, and there were no injures in the gunfire, authorities said at a news conference that included representatives from the TBI, the Tennessee Highway Patrol and the RCSO.
During the chase, Dubose and Rowe crashed into the treeline, which THP spokesman Lt. Bill Miller said was extremely dense. They ran on foot for another 6 miles until they came to a home set back from the road by a long drive when they attempted to steal another car, Miller said.
When the homeowner heard the men outside, he and a neighbor came out with weapons of their own to hold the fugitives at gunpoint until police arrived. Dubose and Rowe had left their weapons at the crash site, authorities said.
Dubose is serving a 20-year sentence for armed robbery, aggravated assault and theft from a 2014 case. Rowe has been in prison since 2002 with convictions including armed robbery, possession of a firearm during a crime and aggravated assault.
The corrections department identified the victims as Christopher Monica, 42, who began working there in 2009, and Curtis Billue, 58, who would have marked his 10th anniversary with the department next month.
Authorities had offered a $130,000 reward for information leading to the fugitives' arrests.
TBI Director Mark Gwyn said it was the bravery and cooperation of multiple law enforcement agencies that led to the capture of the escapees and that some people in Georgia were probably breathing a sigh of relief tonight.
"Yes, it feels good, but there's still a lot of hurt people in Georgia," Gwyn said.
Sills thanked the Rutherford and Bedford County sheriff's offices and all local and federal agencies that worked to apprehend the men.
"I was extremely fearful for other law enforcement officers in surrounding states,” Sills said, according to an RCSO news release. “It’s an ideal situation in the end. I am grateful to everybody and thankful to God himself for minimizing any further harm to anyone."
Contributing: Nancy De Gennaro and Mariah Timms, The Tennessean. Follow Ariana Maia Sawyer on Twitter: @a_maia_sawyer