Maryland inmate shot dead by police after hospital escape

LAUREL, Md. (AP) -- Officials in Maryland are investigating how a dangerous prison inmate escaped from a hospital yesterday, stealing two getaway cars and taking a hostage.

Hours later, 45-year-old Kelvin Poke was killed in a shootout with police in a cemetery.

Poke had been serving life plus 40 years for kidnapping, carjacking and robbery.

Yesterday, he told guards he was having chest pains and was taken to a hospital in Laurel, Maryland. That's where state police say he overpowered five guards, grabbed two of their guns and fired several shots at his leg shackles before fleeing.

Outside the hospital, he shot out the window of a car, dumped the wounded driver and drove off. That driver is expected to live. The car was later found on fire in northeast Washington, where police say Poke carjacked a Ford Explorer. Officers tracked it to the cemetery where they say Poke opened fire on them. A woman who was in the vehicle with Poke was not seriously hurt.

Maryland prison officials say their internal investigation will review whether the guards followed proper procedure.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)