• Search

Escapee Accused Of Murdering Pastor, Shooting Deputy Believed Dead After Shootout During Fire

Leake County, MS – One of four inmates who escaped from a Mississippi jail is believed to be dead after he allegedly murdered a pastor who stopped to help him and later shot a deputy during a standoff with police.

“We have a pretty strong feeling that it is him inside this residence that is deceased,” Hinds County Sheriff Tyree Jones told WAPT on Wednesday.

The series of events leading to the deadly shootout began at approximately 8 p.m. on April 22, when four inmates managed to escape from the Raymond Detention Center in Raymond through breaches in a cell and the facility’s roof, WAPT reported.

Sheriff Jones said jail staff realized the inmates were missing the following morning.

The escapees were identified as 22-year-old Dylan Arrington, 24-year-old Casey Grayson, 51-year-old Jerry Raynes, and 22-year-old Corey Harrison, WLBT reported.

Sheriff Jones told WAPT on Monday it is believed the inmates possibly “camped out on the roof and departed at different ways at different times.”

At least one of the escapees allegedly stole a Hinds County Public Works vehicle and crashed through a gate before fleeing the area.

The vehicle was later found abandoned near Houston, Texas, Sheriff Jones told WAPT.

A Chevrolet Silverado the sheriff said may be related to the escape was also seen traveling eastbound in Rankin County.

Jackson police received a report of “unknown trouble” on Interstate 55 at about 7 p.m. on April 24 and arrived at the scene to find the body of 61-year-old Anthony Watts lying on the road, WLBT reported.

Investigators said Watts, a pastor in D’Lo, came under attack after he pulled over to help a man who appeared to have been involved in a motorcycle crash.

Police said they believe the man on the motorcycle was Arrington and that he had stolen the bike just moments before, WLBT reported.

Arrington allegedly shot Watts multiple times, then stole the slain pastor’s red Dodge Ram 1500 pickup truck and sped away.

Leake County Sheriff Randy Atkinson said Arrington was spotted near Conway Road in Leake County on Tuesday, resulting in the sheriff’s office sending out an alert to local residents via social media, WAPT reported.

“We ask that you be extremely cautious during this time. If you have suspicions of a trespasser on your property, please notify the Sheriff’s Office, [as opposed] to taking matters into your own hands. If you hear noises, see something/someone, please notify us,” the Leake County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) said in a Facebook post. “All residents, please keep your doors locked and have no keys or weapons in your vehicles.”

Helicopters and drones were deployed on Tuesday and Wednesday to search for the murder suspect.

The LCSO announced later on Wednesday that Arrington was located at a home at 2511 Conway Road at about 7:10 a.m.

Sheriff Atkinson said that a male inside the home “came running out” when deputies arrived and told them the escaped inmate was inside, WAPT reported.

“That’s when the individual started shooting from inside the residence and shot my deputy,” Sheriff Atkinson said.

The LCSO said the deputy, identified only as Investigator Horn, was rushed to Leake Baptist hospital with a gunshot wound to the lower right leg.

He was later listed in stable condition.

Sheriff Jones said the suspect barricaded himself inside the house and during the exchange of gunfire, CBS News reported.

The home also went up in flames during the shootout, although the cause of the blaze has not been identified.

“The fire was pretty big, and it caused a lot of damage,” Sheriff Jones said, according to WLBT.

He said an “unidentified deceased person” was later found inside the burned home, CBS News reported.

“While the house was engulfed in flames, we do believe [the gunman] did retreat to another side of the residence and he did begin firing out a window on the other side of the residence, and that’s when law enforcement agencies returned fire,” Sheriff Jones told WAPT. “We believe that the individual was possibly struck, but of course, we don’t have that information right now. Whether he died by gunfire or whether he died as a result of the fire, that is to be determined.”

No other law enforcement officers were injured during the shootout.

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation (MBI) is handling the investigation into the incident, CBS News reported.

Arrington was facing charges of convicted felon in possession of a firearm and auto theft at the time of his escape from jail, according to WAPT.

Grayson was being held on sale of controlled substance and grand larceny, and Harrison was being held on a receiving stolen property offense.

Raynes, who has escaped from the Raymond Detention Center and other facilities in the past, was being held on business burglary and auto theft when the jailbreak occurred, WAPT reported.

The other three escaped inmates remain on the loose.

Sheriff Jones said he believes one of the suspects made it at least as far as Texas and said the others may still be somewhere in Central Mississippi, WAPT reported.

Watts’ stolen pickup truck has still not been recovered, Sheriff Atkinson told WLBT.

“We have combed this area,” he said. “We’ve had drones… choppers have been in the area, and we have not seen this vehicle in the area, and we have not seen that vehicle anywhere.”

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin


Sign up to our daily newsletter so you don't miss out on the latest events surrounding law enforcement!

Follow Me

Follow us on social media and be sure to mark us as "See First."