Inmate escapes from hospital, shoots self

September 10, 2008 12:03:27 PM PDT
A jail inmate wrestled a gun away from a guard in a hospital emergency room and escaped in a stolen SUV early Wednesday, but crashed hours later during a police chase and then shot himself to death, police said. Kenny Dale Nulph, 44, had been jailed on a probation violation, but investigators had recently connected him to a string of robberies, including two bank robberies, state police Lt. Thomas Dubovi said. No charges had been filed.

The high-speed police chase occurred during morning rush hour on a major artery that connects Pittsburgh with its northeast suburbs. No police or bystanders were hurt.

"Of course, our concern was somebody innocent getting injured in this pursuit," Dubovi said.

Armstrong County Jail guards took Nulph to Armstrong Memorial Hospital near Kittanning, about 40 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, for treatment after he complained of chest and stomach pains. Shortly after midnight in the emergency room, Nulph wrestled a gun away from a guard. The gun went off but nobody was hurt.

Police locked down the hospital and searched every vehicle entering and exiting it for several hours, but were unable to immediately find Nulph.

A Jeep Cherokee was reported stolen nearby and police spotted it several hours later.

Officers chased the Jeep on Route 28, a highway that connects Kittanning and Pittsburgh, until it crashed shortly before 8 a.m. Nulph then shot himself.

Online court records indicate Nulph has served time and has a long arrest record for vehicle theft, fleeing police, escape, assault and drug charges.

Dubovi said one state police cruiser was damaged when a trooper tried to force Nulph off the highway.

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