An off-duty detour and gut instinct led two Somerville, Massachusetts, police detectives to provide backup for the takedown of a dangerous fugitive on Thursday. One of them was armed with nothing more than a shovel from a backyard.
"Truth be told, we were actually finishing up our day," Detective Derrick Dottin said.
But really, their day was just beginning.
"I'm like, really? Wow. This can't be true," Dottin said.
As police searched for escaped fugitive James Walker Morales, the man they were looking for crossed the street right in front of Dottin and Detective Kilsarys Leguisamon's car in Somerville.
"It was my personal vehicle," Dottin said. "I told dispatch, 'Forget about it - it's him. I've got a trooper in a foot pursuit."
That's when the detectives - who were off-duty and on their way to a funeral - decided to make a bit of a detour.
"I was like, OK, OK now, we're really going and just a lot of things running through my head," Leguisamon said.
Before they knew it, the two detectives were running after a man they only knew at the time might have tried to rob two banks. His outfit in a bank surveillance video is what tipped them off.
"At that point, to be honest with you, i thought I was just dealing with a bank robber," Leguisamon said. " I didn't know we were dealing with Mr. Morales."
But in fact, they were dealing with an escaped prisoner who was considered armed and dangerous.
Leguisamon wasn't armed at all, other than a shovel that she grabbed from a backyard.
"It's better than nothing," she said. "It's a weapon of opportunity and better for me to have that than nothing if he's armed."
Fortunately, the takedown was quick - no more than 20 seconds - before they helped corner Morales with Massachusetts State Police Trooper Joseph Merrick.
"It was a good ending to a very long day," Leguisamon said.
Detectives Dottin and Leguisamon were even able to make it to the funeral where they were originally headed.