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One of 4 Mississippi jail escapees is found dead in a burned home where shots were fired at police, officials say


By Sara Smart, Amy Simonson and Holly Yan, CNN

One of four Mississippi jail escapees who police believe fired at a law enforcement officer from a home Wednesday has been found dead after a fire in that residence, the Hinds County sheriff said.

Dylan Arrington, one of four people who authorities said escaped the Raymond Detention Center west of the state capital over the weekend, was found dead in the burned home in Carthage, Mississippi, the Hinds County sheriff said.

On Wednesday morning, a man authorities later said was believed to be Arrington was found at the home and opened fire, striking a deputy in a leg, the Leake County Sheriff’s Office posted on Facebook Wednesday morning.

The deputy was the only officer injured in the incident, which lasted about two hours, and the deputy was taken to a hospital, where he was stabilized, the Leake County sheriff’s department said.

Around midday Wednesday, law enforcement agencies then responded to a fire at the home, where the man believed to have been involved in the shooting had barricaded himself, Sheriff Tyree Jones of nearby Hinds County said.

One person was found dead inside the burned home, Jones said on Twitter. He was identified later Wednesday as Arrington, one of the prison escapees, Jones said.

The cause of death of Arrington’s death is under investigation, Jones said.

Authorities have also not specified whether others were in the home.

The “structure was engulfed in flames and an individual inside of the structure started firing shots at law enforcement on the exterior,” the sheriff told a local news station. “I believe (the person inside the home) did not intend to leave here alive today.”

In a previous post, the Leake County Sheriff’s Office warned residents to beware of Arrington — who authorities say is suspected of killing a man in Jackson on Monday before stealing his truck during his escape.

“If you have suspicions of a trespasser on your property, please notify the Sheriffs Office, (instead of) taking matters into your own hands. If you hear noises, see something/someone, please notify us!” the post reads.

Another escapee, Jerry Raynes, was spotted Sunday morning at a service station in Spring Valley, Texas, Jones tweeted Wednesday, adding that it is unknown whether Raynes traveled to Texas alone.

Escapee suspected of killing a pastor

The four escapees were reported missing after a routine head count around 12:30 a.m. Sunday, Hinds County Sheriff Tyree Jones said Monday.

Authorities said Arrington, 22; Casey Grayson, 24; Corey Harrison, 22; and Raynes, 51, escaped from Raymond Detention Center, about 15 miles west of downtown Jackson.

After the jail was placed on lockdown, staff found two breaches inside the facility — one in a cell and another in the roof, the sheriff said. Authorities believe the group climbed onto the roof around 8:30 p.m. Saturday, camped there, and left the property at different times, he said.

Arrington is suspected of shooting and killing a man in Jackson Monday before stealing the victim’s red Dodge Ram 1500 truck and driving away, Jackson Police Chief James E. Davis said in a statement.

Police officers who were called to the scene found the victim lying unresponsive in the roadway on Monday evening, Davis said. Investigators determined the victim had pulled over on the side of the road to help Arrington, who appeared to have wrecked a motorcycle that had been stolen moments earlier, Davis said.

Based on information gathered, investigators believe Arrington shot the victim several times and then stole his truck, Davis said.

The victim was identified as local pastor the Rev. Anthony Watts, according to local authorities and a church associate.

Watts was a “good Samaritan” who stopped “to help an individual that was obviously involved in criminal behavior,” Jones, the sheriff, said Wednesday.

Watts was the pastor at St. Mary Missionary Baptist Church. His death was confirmed to CNN by Karen Fairley, the daughter of St. Mary’s associate pastor, Carl Burton.

Vehicles stolen in their escapes

The stolen truck was last seen heading south on Interstate 55 in the nearby city of Terry, Mississippi, Davis said. “This suspect is considered to be armed and dangerous,” he added.

At least one of the other men is believed to have escaped in a vehicle to Texas, the sheriff said.

A witness reported seeing a Hinds County Public Works vehicle crash through a gate around 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Jones said. That vehicle was later found abandoned more than 400 miles away in Spring Valley Village, Texas, he said.

Another truck was stolen near the detention center at around 2:30 a.m. Sunday, and a witness described two unidentified men in the vehicle, Jones said. Though investigators have not been able to confirm it, they believe that theft is connected to the escapees, he said.

The stolen red Chevy Silverado was last seen Sunday morning headed into Mississippi’s Rankin County, which is east of Jackson, he said.

As of midday Wednesday, authorities had not confirmed whether any of the escapees had been captured.

“We are actively and aggressively looking for these individuals, and we hope to have them back in custody soon,” Jones said.

The sheriff’s office is conducting both an administrative and criminal investigation into the escape, Jones said. Once captured, the men now face additional charges of escape and possibly auto theft in addition to those they were already facing, Jones added.

Correction: A previous version of this story gave the wrong day that, according to a sheriff, a stolen red Chevy Silverado was last seen. It was last seen Sunday morning, the sheriff said.

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CNN’s Jeremy Grisham, Cara-Lynn Clarkson, Alta Spells and Devon M. Sayers contributed to this report.

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