Arizona murder convict fired on Rifle police before arrest
A convicted murderer who escaped Friday with two other men from an Arizona prison fired a bullet at Rifle police before being arrested early Sunday morning, police say.
Lt. J.R. Boulton said no one was injured during the incident, in which Daniel Renwick, 36, was then apprehended after an officer used his car to ram the vehicle the man was driving.
Renwick was arrested after first drawing the attention of a Garfield County sheriff’s deputy in the Rulison area.
Renwick was one of three convicts who authorities say escaped Friday evening by cutting a hole in a fence at an Arizona state prison. The other two and an accomplice remained at large Sunday, authorities said.
Arizona Department of Corrections spokesman Barrett Marson said authorities there have no information leading them to believe the other escapees are in Colorado. Rather, information from law enforcement suggests they are still in Arizona, said Charles Ryan, director of the Arizona Department of Corrections.
Boulton said Renwick was alone when he was arrested.
Marson said the other two inmates should be considered especially dangerous because of the nature of their convictions.
Officials identified them as Tracy Province, 42, who was serving a life sentence for murder and robbery, and John McCluskey, 45, serving 15 years for attempted second-degree murder, aggravated assault and discharge of a firearm.
Marson said the men are believed to be with Casslyn Mae Welch, 44, who is suspected of aiding in the escape.
Renwick is being held without bond in the Garfield County Jail, the Sheriff’s Department said. He was arrested on suspicion of attempted first-degree murder, vehicular eluding and escape.
The escapees kidnapped two semitrailer drivers at gunpoint in Arizona and initially used their truck to flee, authorities say.
Boulton said he believes Renwick was arrested in a Chevy S-10 Blazer. Rifle police believe that the vehicle is owned by an acquaintance of Renwick.
The Garfield County Sheriff’s Department said in a news release that a sheriff’s deputy noticed a suspicious vehicle in the Rulison area, and while the deputy was trying to get behind the vehicle on Interstate 70 and check the license plate, the driver’s behavior became more suspicious.
The driver got off at the west Rifle I-70 exit, dispatchers confirmed with the deputy that the vehicle was associated with the Arizona escape, and the deputy prepared to pull over a high-risk vehicle, the Sheriff’s Department said.
Rifle police were dispatched to the west Rifle exit at 12:16 a.m. Sunday. The driver left as they prepared to approach and drove east on I-70, refusing to pull over, then exited at the main Rifle interchange.
Boulton said the driver fired a shot that struck the front of a patrol car before police rammed his vehicle. He then surrendered without incident, Boulton said.
Boulton said he believes at least two Rifle officers and a sheriff’s deputy were involved in the arrest.
“They did everything they should have done. Everybody got to go home,” he said.
The Sheriff’s Department said deputies used dog teams at the scene and there was no indication that other escapees were in the area.
Renwick and the others escaped from a medium-security prison in Golden Valley, Ariz., Marson said.
Renwick was serving two consecutive 22-year sentences for second-degree murder for shooting a father and his daughter, Marson said. His sentence expiration date was 2043.
KOLD TV in Tucson reported that the daughter was Renwick’s ex-girlfriend.
Police spent much of Saturday using helicopters and dogs to search for the three men.
At about 5 a.m. Saturday, the group kidnapped two drivers of a semitrailer in Kingman, Ariz., and forced them at gunpoint to drive two hours east to Flagstaff, said Flagstaff police Sgt. James Jackson. The group left the drivers, unharmed, in the truck at a stop just off Interstate 40 and then fled.
“The truck drivers were lucky to get away unscathed,” Jackson said. “I mean, they’ve been convicted of murder and they’re escaping from prison.”
Authorities said Welch was seen at the prison before the escape driving a blue 1996 Chrysler Concord car with Arizona license plate ABL7584.
Authorities urged anyone with information on the escaped prisoners to use caution and call police immediately.
Province was last seen wearing dark blue jeans, a dark purple polo shirt with red stripes and white tennis shoes. McCluskey was wearing light-colored blue jeans, a white button-up shirt with horizontal and vertical blue stripes, and white tennis shoes.
Management and Training Corp. of Centerville, Utah, operates the prison where the escape occurred. The company operates 17 correctional facilities in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Idaho and Ohio, according to its website.
Ryan said Sunday that the escape is under investigation.
“We have great concerns that there was laxness on the part of security staff at this private prison, but I’m going to allow the investigation to run its course,” said Ryan, who plans to meet with prison officials in the next day or two.