CLINTON COUNTY, Mo. - Two of the three men who escaped a Kansas prison are believed to be inside a house in Clinton County, Mo., and are speaking with negotiators, authorities said in a news conference Friday afternoon.
The standoff comes after two men – believed to be the two escapees -- fired at police, prompting a chase that led to the home. However, police would not confirm that the suspects in the home are the escapees.
Platte County, Mo., Sheriff's Department spokesman Erik Holland said a Platte City police officer spotted a stolen car with two of the three men inside on Interstate 29 at about 10 a.m. Friday morning.
The suspects fired at police, but nobody was injured, authorities said. A chase ensued, with the sheriff's department joining.
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The men stopped the car near a house on Z Highway just outside the city of Edgerton, Mo., and are believed to have gone inside. More than 50 law enforcement vehicles have surrounded the scene.
The escaped inmates, Scott A. Gilbert, 49, Allen M. Hurst, 31, and Randy A. Ridens Sr., 57, were discovered missing from a minimum security portion of the Lansing Correctional Facility in Lansing, Kan., during a head count at 7:20 a.m. Friday, prison spokesman Jeremy Barclay said. Minimum security means there was no barbed wire or fencing outside the building.
Two of the suspects, Gilbert and Hurst, are believed to be in the house, according to Barclay. Ridens' whereabouts remain unknown.
The Platte County Sheriff's Department says the people who own the home on Z Highway are avid gun collectors and the suspects are also believed to have brought weapons inside.
The homeowners were not home when the men went inside, Holland said, adding there was no reason to believe the suspects had any connection to the house.
Law enforcement officials said the homeowners are in a safe location, and are working with police to provide information about the house.
Authorities told 41 Action News the neighbors directly around the area are not home. Others in the area have been asked to stay inside.
The Intermediate School in the North Platte School District is locked down during the standoff. The school is located at 900 Lewis St., in Edgerton. Students are not in the school on Friday because of a field trip.
Gilbert and Hurst were convicted in Sedgwick County in 2010 of multiple counts of burglary and theft. Ridens was convicted in Shawnee and Douglas counties in 2010 of multiple counts of burglary and one count of theft.