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Two Georgia Prison Escapees Caught After Chase, Shoot-Out

July 22, 1987|ERIC MATTSON | Times Staff Writer

Two Georgia prison escapees were captured early Tuesday morning near the California-Arizona border after a shoot-out with Border Patrol agents, authorities said.

Both escapees were wounded, one seriously, during the confrontation along Interstate 8 about three miles north of Mexico, said Gene Corder, chief agent at Yuma Border Patrol Sector Headquarters.

Mark H. Orlander, 26, was shot in the face and elbow by Border Patrol agents, and he apparently shot himself in the foot with a sawed-off shotgun. He was listed in serious but stable condition at the Yuma Regional Medical Center in Arizona, hospital spokeswoman Carol Flerlage said.

Orlander's companion, Anthony Leon Gray, 30, suffered a superficial leg wound when he was grazed by a bullet and was being held at the Imperial County jail.

A Border Patrol agent became suspicious of the pair when he passed them on Interstate 8 just west of the California-Arizona border. "The driver reacted in sort of an unusual way," Corder said. The escapees tried to act so inconspicuous that they were conspicuous, Corder added.

The agent radioed another officer who followed the car and ordered Orlander and Gray to pull over. When the agent approached the car, Orlander shot at him twice with a sawed-off shotgun, Corder said. The agent was not hit and he returned fire.

The escapees sped off, and several other Border Patrol officers joined the chase. Orlander and Gray got off Interstate 8 at the Androte exit, near Winterhaven, Calif., and headed toward Mexico.

'Dangerous Situation'

They were stopped about three miles from the border. The Border Patrol opened fire when Orlander brandished the shotgun, officials said.

Corder said several weapons were found in the car, including two sawed-off shotguns, three .22-caliber rifles and assorted knives.

"It was a very dangerous situation," he said. "These guys were not out joy riding, and they'd just as soon blow someone away as look at him."

Orlander and Gray escaped last Wednesday from a highway work detail north of Atlanta. They were clearing foliage with several other inmates while under the supervision of one guard when they escaped in a prison mini-van, said Kathy Drake, a spokeswoman for the Georgia prison system. Drake said the keys had been left in the van, but "there's no evidence at this point that there was any kind of conspiracy."

Orlander and Gray allegedly drove to the home of a 61-year-old Cherokee County woman, tied her up, stole about $1,000 and took her 1977 car, Drake said. The two were driving a car with South Carolina license plates when they were captured. Officials believe the license plates were stolen.

Orlander, of Tucker, Ga., had served almost 5 years of a 20-year sentence for armed robbery, Drake said.

Gray, of Buford, Ga., had served 2 1/2 years of a 10-year sentence for burglary and "a lot of other petty stuff," Drake said.

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