• Update: The second of two inmates who escaped from the Palo Alto courthouse on Nov. 6, 2017 was found on Nov. 26, 2017 in San Leandro. Read the story here.
One of two inmates who fled from the Palo Alto courthouse earlier this month was recaptured Tuesday in Stockton where he led officers on a brief chase, the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office announced late Tuesday night.
Tramel Leon McClough, 46, was booked shortly after 11 p.m. Tuesday into San Joaquin County jail without bail on suspicion of obstructing or resisting a peace officer, according to the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office online inmate database. He's also facing additional charges in Santa Clara County.
McClough and 47-year-old John Penn Bivins, both of East Palo Alto, escaped from the courthouse on Nov. 6 when they were scheduled for a hearing while they were being escorted through a hallway, sheriff's officials said at the time.
The California Highway Patrol Stockton area has issued a be-on-the-lookout alert for Bivins. The inmate is described as a black man who's around 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighs about 180 pounds and has black hair and brown eyes. He also has a distinctive stomach tattoo with the letters "EPA," according to the sheriff's office. The 47-year-old was last seen in the Ford Explorer with license plate number 7TTY505.
The search for both men has spanned across the state and is now focused in the Stockton area, where sheriff's investigators are working with Stockton police and CHP Stockton area office.
CHP officers saw McClough and Bivins in a green 1999 Ford Explorer on U.S. Highway 5 in Stockton and attempted to pull them over around 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, the agency said in a Facebook post.
The Ford driver, later identified by sheriff's officials as McClough, led them on a short chase from northbound Highway 5 south of 8 Mile Road to southbound Trinity Parkway, according to the CHP. The initial pursuit ended when the driver stopped, ran to a Walmart Supercenter store on Trinity Parkway and was later taken into custody.
Bivins allegedly moved to the driver's seat and continued traveling on Trinity Parkway south of McAuliffe Road, where at one point an officer discharged his weapon; the 47-year-old left in the car and was last seen heading north, according to the CHP.
Both men were part of an "orchestrated escape" at the courthouse more than two weeks ago when they were scheduled for a hearing. The duo was being escorted down a public hallway where they fled through an emergency exit to Grant Avenue and ran across the street to a parked burgundy Toyota Camry, sheriff's officials said. They traveled about two to three blocks away to Park Boulevard and Sheridan Avenue where they switched to a U-Haul cargo van they ultimately used to flee the area.
The two men are facing multiple charges including robbery, false imprisonment, fleeing or attempting to elude a pursuing officer and being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to Santa Clara County Superior Court. They were arrested in February for allegedly taking $64,400 worth of cellphones and other merchandise from a Verizon store in Sunnyvale in an armed robbery, where employees were held up inside.
The sheriff's office has offered a $25,000 reward for any information that leads to the arrests of McClough and Bivins.
Bivins is considered dangerous, sheriff's officials said. Anyone with information on his location or the Ford Explorer is asked to call 911. Tips related to the case can be made to the sheriff's investigations unit at 408-808-4500 or anonymous tip line at 408-808-4431.
Marquita Kirk, 44, of Sunnyvale, and Rene Hunt, 54, of East Palo Alto, were arrested for allegedly assisting the duo by setting up the cars outside the courthouse, according to the sheriff's office. The suspected accomplices were booked into jail on Nov. 14 and have since posted bail.