ANTWERP, Ohio – An Ohio escapee commits suicide as police close in.
The rape suspect who overpowered a sheriff’s deputy and escaped police custody last week committed suicide on Monday as police attempted to recapture him, officials said.
Branden Lee Powell, 32, (pictured) fatally shot himself late Monday evening. The suicide occurred as authorities tried to coax him from a crawl space in his parent’s home in a rural area of Antwerp, Ohio, located about three hours north of Cincinnati, reported ABC News.
“Efforts were made by law enforcement personnel to successfully and peacefully bring Powell out of the crawl space and place him in custody; however, Powell did not comply with those efforts,” the Paulding County Sheriff’s office said in a statement Monday. “Branden Lee Powell chose to take his own life by gunshot at approximately 9:30 p.m.”
Law enforcement officers, including the FBI and U.S. Marshals, had been working non-stop to recapture Powell. The wanted man stole a sheriff’s deputy firearm while in a transport van on Friday afternoon. Once he had the upper hand, he ordered the deputy at gunpoint to remove his restraints, police said.
“While this is not the outcome law enforcement had hoped for, law enforcement hopes the community can rest knowing this armed and dangerous individual is no longer a danger to the community,” the sheriff’s office statement said.
Powell was being transported from a psychiatric hospital in Toledo to the Paulding County Jail in northwest Ohio at the time of his escape. He was in leg shackles and handcuffs secured to a belly belt when he jumped over the seat and put the deputy in a headlock. His move caused the vehicle to crash into a ditch, according to police.
During the struggle, Powell successfully gained control of the deputy’s weapon. As he made his getaway, he cuffed him to the steering wheel, according to police.
Prior to making his getaway, he disabled the vehicle’s police radio and engine authorities said. In addition to stealing the firearm, he also stole the deputy’s wallet, cellphone, and 30 rounds of ammunition.
The deputy suffered minor injuries from the incident.
Powell was jailed in July on rape, attempted rape and sexual battery charges. Subsequently he was sent to the Northwest Ohio Psychiatric Hospital after he attempted to commit suicide while in custody.
(Photo: Screenshot ABC News broadcast)