On December 13, 2000, seven convicts overpowered civilian workers and four guards at a high-security prison southeast of San Antonio. They stole work clothing, a pickup truck, and 16 firearms. Eleven days later, on Christmas eve, they robbed a sporting goods store in Irving, Texas, of $70,000 in cash and checks, at least 25 more weapons, and some more clothing. In the course of that crime, they killed a police officer, Aubrey Hawkins, who was responding to the call of a robbery in progress. Then they disappeared for almost a month. There were hundreds of reports of sightings, no doubt encouraged by the offer of a reward for their capture. Eventually, that reward would rise to half a million dollars. Authorities predicted that because the men were heavily armed, had remained together after their escape, and would all be held to account for the murder of Officer Hawkins, that they would not be recaptured without a fight. It would, authorities predicted, almost surely come to a bloody end. We now know what ultimately happened. One of the men committed suicide, the other six have been recaptured without further injury or death. It played out that way because of a syndicated television program, some skillful negotiations, and a lot of good luck. This is the story of how all of those factors came together. Anchor: Ted Koppel.
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