Local News

Bystander tackles Virginia murder suspect who escaped custody in Raleigh

Posted May 28, 2019 3:51 p.m. EDT
Updated July 22, 2019 5:25 p.m. EDT

— A man wanted in connection with a homicide in Virginia escaped from a Wake County deputy on Monday as he was being moved to the county jail but was quickly recaptured with help from a bystander.

George William Knisley, 41, of Westminster, Md., was arrested Saturday night following a carjacking and police chase in Raleigh that ended on Capital Boulevard just north of Interstate 440, authorities said.

On Monday, a deputy was to drive Knisley from the Public Safety Center in downtown Raleigh to the Wake County Detention Center on Hammond Road to be booked on various charges. As they were about to leave the Public Safety Center's sally port, Knisley complained that his handcuffs were too tight, so the deputy loosened the cuffs, authorities said.

Knisley then shoved the deputy out of the way and took off down Davie Street toward Dawson Street, authorities said.

John Martinez Jr. said he and his wife were walking through downtown when he spotted a man in an orange jumpsuit running down the street with a uniformed officer in pursuit.

"It was like someone in a costume," Martinez said Tuesday. "I saw that he had a handcuff on one hand and it was dangling around – both of his hands were free."

The deputy was falling farther behind in the chase, and Martinez said his wife called out to see if the deputy needed help.

"He said yes, so I handed my phone to my wife and took off," he said, adding that he caught up to the escapee near Dawson Street and tackled him.

"I took him down to the ground, pinned his arms around his back," he said. "He begged me to let me go. [He] said, 'Let me go. Let me go. I am wanted for murder,' and I was like, there is no chance."

Another man came along and helped Martinez get the handcuffs back on the escapee before deputies arrived, Martinez said.

"We gave each other a fist punch, said good job and went to lunch," he said with a laugh.

Martinez said he simply reacted to the situation and didn't think he was putting himself in a potentially dangerous position with an escaping prisoner.

Knisley is wanted in a murder last week in Cumberland County, Va.

Virginia State Police said Matthew T. Broyles, 29, of Powhatan, was found dead in a home west of Richmond early Friday and that 43-year-old Amy Renee Fabian was missing. Police have issued a critically missing adult alert for her, saying she was possibly in danger.

Police said they were concentrating their search for her in Mecklenburg County, Va.

Knisley was suspected of stealing several vehicles between Maryland and Raleigh.

He is being held without bond in the Wake County jail on a fugitive extradition warrant from Virginia. He also faces charges of robbery with a dangerous weapon, two counts of resisting a public officer, possession of a stolen firearm and fleeing or eluding arrest with a motor vehicle.

The Wake County Sheriff's Office is investigating the incident to determine if any policies or procedures were violated.