Second inmate arrested weeks after Palo Alto courthouse escape

Authorities on Sunday arrested the second of two armed robbery suspects who pulled off a brazen escape from a Palo Alto courthouse earlier this month.

Investigators spotted John Bivins, 47, walking out of the Fairmont Inn in San Leandro about 9:30 a.m. and ordered him to surrender, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office. Bivins refused to comply and was forced into custody by the U.S. Marshal-led Pacific Southwest Regional Task Force. He was being treated at a hospital for unspecified injuries.

His alleged accomplice, Tramel McClough, 46, was arrested Tuesday after investigators found the duo driving near a Wal-Mart in Stockton. McClough ran into the store and was caught, while Bivins managed to get away after trying to run over two investigators, a U.S. marshal and a California Highway Patrol officer, authorities said.

Officers shot at Bivins before he fled.

Authorities said Bivins may face additional charges, including attempted murder of a federal agent and state peace officer.

The two inmates escaped Nov. 6, when they were scheduled to appear in court on pending charges. They ran away from a deputy who was escorting them through the building, bolting through an emergency exit before jumping into a getaway vehicle outside.


They exited the vehicle a few blocks away and got into a U-Haul van, according to police, who said they recovered a handcuff key and discarded restraints at the scene.

Two people — Marquita Kirk, 44, and Rene Hunt, 54 — were later arrested on suspicion of helping the pair escape.

Investigators believe Kirk rented the U-Haul van, while Hunt “was responsible for arranging the vehicle” they used to escape from the courthouse, authorities said.

McClough and Bivins were initially arrested Feb. 3 after police say they tied up employees at gunpoint inside a cellphone store and stole nearly $64,000 worth of merchandise. They were charged with robbery and false imprisonment, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

Twitter: @AleneTchek