Video: Hostage in inmate standoff?

updated 4/2/2007 4:50:17 PM ET 2007-04-02T20:50:17

Police arrested an inmate at a house where he holed up Monday after overpowering a guard in a hospital and fleeing with the guard's gun and uniform, authorities said, holding a female hostage inside the home.

The woman was released and believed to be in good condition, U.S. Marshals spokesman Deputy Brian Babtist told NBC News.

Billy Jack Fitzmorris, 34, was believed to have escaped on foot from St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown. Police believe he robbed two banks in central Ohio before going into the house in Hilliard, a Columbus suburb about 150 miles southwest of Youngstown, Hilliard police Lt. Evert Lambert said.

Two hospital workers, the guard and three other prison officers were held briefly in a hospital room during the escape, but no one was injured, authorities said.

Fitzmorris had been held since February at the Northeast Ohio Correction Center in Youngstown for the U.S. Marshals Service, according to Corrections Corporation of America. The company that runs the prison said he was awaiting sentencing on a federal conviction for cocaine possession and intent to distribute cocaine.

Two nurses and several prison workers were briefly held in a hospital room during the escape, authorities said.

Television footage showed a man breaking into the house after abandoning a car nearby. A woman later climbed out a second story window and dropped to the ground as police arrived. No other information was immediately available about the woman reportedly held in the home.

The company, based in Nashville, Tenn., gave no details on why he was taken to the hospital Saturday or how he overpowered the guard. He had been under observation in his room Monday morning when the confrontation occurred, the company said.

“It’s been a scary day for us here,” hospital spokeswoman Tina Creighton told CNN.

She said she couldn’t discuss why the inmate was at the hospital beyond saying that he was there for treatment.

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