CARLYLE, Ill. — One day after being held hostage in his own home a Clinton County man is sharing his story.
Both Leonard Cox and Rex Bolin knew the authorities were looking for Ray Tate after he shot a Wayne County Sheriff’s Deputy but they never thought he would show up at their door.
When two men showed up at Duff’s Tire and Auto Wednesday afternoon owner Rex Bolin didn’t think twice about it.
“They just wanted to test drive a car,” said Rex Bolin.
He gave them the keys and they left their truck.
“Ten minutes later this place is all surrounded by State Police and US Marshalls,” said Bolin.
Roughly 10 miles away, 40-year-old Ray Tate, who was wanted for killing a Wayne Co. Sheriff’s Deputy, was holding Leonard Cox at gunpoint.
“He said, 'Don’t want to hurt you and I don’t want to cause any trouble,'” said Leonard Cox. “'I just need a place to stash a car, hide, and lay low for a little bit.'”
As Cox tried to give Tate what he wanted police started circling the area.
“I already knew he shot a cop, and shot somebody else, so I didn’t want to do anything to set him off or over the edge to where he shoots me or the other guy,” said Cox.
Tate forced Cox, and another hostage named Joe, into the basement.
“He had the other guy take one of my old computer monitors like a mirror so he could see up the basement steps,” said Cox.
That’s when “Joe” made a run for it.
“I’m praying that hopefully, I live to see another day,” said Cox. “If I don’t I’m thinking hopefully I’m good enough to go to heaven.”
As Tate talked to hostage negotiators, he fired multiple shots inside the basement.
“He grabs the gun and sticks it right on my forehead and says, 'Tell them where the gun's at,'” said Cox. “It was right on my forehead. He pulled the gun away. Not long after that I could see or rather he actually saw the SWAT team come through."
One day later, he can reflect on what happened.
“I thought there was a really good possibility I wouldn’t come out of here alive,” said Cox.
Cox said he’s not concerned about anything like this happening again.
“Hopefully this is like lightning and it’s only going to strike once,” said Cox.
Cox said police were able to track Tate by the smartwatch his other hostage was wearing.
At this time Tate faces first-degree murder charges in Wayne County.