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ONLY ON 12: Officer who arrested escaped inmate tells story of surreal face-off

Perry Sullivan
Perry Sullivan was denied bond during a hearing Tuesday afternoon. (WRDW-TV / Aug. 23, 2011)
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News 12 at 11 o'clock / Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2011

WILLISTON, S.C. -- Off-duty Williston Police Officer Joey Patsourakos and his wife and four children were camping only a few miles away from where law enforcement officers searched for the escaped inmate.

He joked with friends on Facebook Friday night about being so close. He even joked that he may have to catch the inmate himself.

Little did he know, that joke would become a reality.

Early Saturday morning, dispatch sent out an alert. Perry Sullivan carjacked a blue Ford Explorer at a store in Sycamore, S.C.

"I started thinking, you know, Sycamore is about 12 miles from where I was at. He ended up in Fairfax and then back at Sycamore. He's trying to go east," Patsourakos said.

He left from a concealed weapons training class he was teaching at the campground. He went back to the campsite, told his family the news, picked up his M4 Carbine and left in his truck. He sped down Highway 641 in Colleton County and decided to stop and block the road using his truck. Armed with only the M4 rifle, he got out and waited.

There was no one else around for miles. It was all a gamble, but Patsourakos wanted to be prepared in case Sullivan did come that way.

"I wasn't there not even for five minutes, and I look up, and here comes a blue Ford Explorer," he said.

He triggered his M4's laser and aimed it at the driver's windshield.

"And he didn't slam on brakes. He came to a slow stop, and the door opened, and everything just stopped," he told News 12. "I actually flipped the safety off on the rifle. My finger went to the trigger. I said, you know, this guy's going to come out shooting or whatever he's fixing to do, I said, we're fixing to end it right here."

Perry Sullivan chose a different fate.

"He didn't stand up, he didn't kneel down, I mean, he just came straight out on the ground in a prone position," Patsourakos said.

With the M4 to Sullivan's back, Officer Patsourakos handcuffed him tight. The three day manhunt was over around 9:44 a.m. Saturday.

"It basically fell at my feet. I didn't do anything special. I didn't do anything out of the ordinary," he said. "Only thing it was, I just made a decision once I heard that, I was going to get him."

He says his Facebook page is now exploding with friend requests and messages of congratulation as well. He's just glad Sullivan is behind bars now, because he says Sullivan managed to terrorize a whole area.

He said Sullivan shouted for Patsourakos not to shoot when he exited the Ford Explorer. Once in custody, he also asked Patsourakos to not let other officers harm him as well.

Patsourakos said if he hadn't have been there to stop him, it's impossible to know what would have happened.

It all started last Thursday morning, when a Stephens County, Ga., deputy was transporting Sullivan, the prisoner, from Colleton County, S.C., back to Stephens County. They pulled over in Allendale, when the inmate claimed he was feeling ill. That's when Sullivan broke from the handcuffs and beat the deputy.

Lieutenant Steven Robinson with Allendale County Sheriff's Office said about 150 people worked the man hunt. There were three tracking teams.

Officers from Aiken County, Allendale County, SLED, Jasper County, Hampton County, Fairfax PD, Allendale PD, Estill PD, DNR, Highway Patrol and Colleton County were working to find Sullivan.

Sullivan was denied bond in a hearing Tuesday afternoon in Hampton County. He has been charged with escape, assault and battery, armed robbery, grand larceny, carjacking, burglary, pointing and presenting a firearm, possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime, taking a firearm from a law enforcement officer and kidnapping. He has decided to have a public defender.

A bond hearing will still have to take place for one of the burglary charges, since he could receive a life sentence for that. That hearing will have to take place before a circuit court judge. That bond hearing will take place Oct. 8. The preliminary hearing for the other charges will begin before an Allendale County Magistrate judge possibly in late September.