'Dangerous' Suspect in Georgia Sheriff's Death Escapes Leg Shackles

Image: Jim Lowery
Jim LoweryHandout / Treutlen County Sheriff

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By Shamar Walters and Alastair Jamieson

A shackled suspect accused of murder after the death of a Georgia sheriff escaped during a jail transfer Tuesday and spent 11 hours on the run before being recaptured, officials and local media said.

Jim Lowery, who was described as "dangerous," was handcuffed in a patrol car but managed to escape his leg shackles and used them to smash a window and flee, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said.

Jim LoweryHandout / Treutlen County Sheriff

The 35-year-old was detained on charges of murder, felony murder, and aggravated assault on a police officer following the June death of Montgomery County Sheriff Ladson O’Connor. He died during a pursuit when his patrol car hit a tree.

Aided by dogs and helicopters, more than 100 state and federal law enforcement officers, were involved in Tuesday's manhunt.

Lowery fled as the vehicle he was in arrived at the Laurens County Jail, 60 miles northwest of Columbia, Georgia, at around 11.20 a.m. ET. He was being transferred by a deputy from Treutlen County, about 50 miles west of Savannah, Georgia.

“The deputy pursued Lowery into the woods until he lost sight of him,” the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said in a statement. “Lowery was wearing an orange jumpsuit at the time of the escape. Lowery’s handcuffs were later found in the roadway still intact.”

Lowery was spotted near the jail at about 10.20 p.m. ET and was apprehended without incident, it later said in an update.

O’Connor died June 16 when officers began a pursuit of Lowery when the vehicle he was in made suspicious maneuvers near two deputies attempting to help a motorist.

“During the pursuit, Sheriff O’Connor lost control of his vehicle, wrecked, and was dead on the scene,” the bureau said in a July news release. "Also during the pursuit, one of the suspects in the vehicle fired shots at law enforcement officers.”

Lowery had been wanted on suspicion of burglary, according to Reuters.

Reuters contributed.