Rafael McCloud, 33, escaped from Warren County Jail in Vicksburg, Mississippi. The Warren County Sheriff's Office said McCloud is considered dangerous.
Warren County Sheriff's Office
Rafael McCloud, 33, escaped from Warren County Jail in Vicksburg, Mississippi. The Warren County Sheriff's Office said McCloud is considered dangerous.
Now playing
00:51
Escaped murder suspect killed by family he held hostage
Facebook
Now playing
01:09
Police: Bulgarian journalist raped, murdered
Authorities are investigating the scene in East Austin, Texas, after a teenager was killed and a woman was injured in the second Austin package explosion in the past two weeks Monday, March 12, 2018. Authorities say a package that exploded inside of an Austin home on Monday is believed to be linked to a deadly package sent to another home in Texas' capital city earlier this month. (Ricardo B. Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
Ricardo B. Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman via AP
Authorities are investigating the scene in East Austin, Texas, after a teenager was killed and a woman was injured in the second Austin package explosion in the past two weeks Monday, March 12, 2018. Authorities say a package that exploded inside of an Austin home on Monday is believed to be linked to a deadly package sent to another home in Texas' capital city earlier this month. (Ricardo B. Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
Now playing
02:05
Police: Deadly blasts in Texas connected
Spalding County Sheriff's Office
Now playing
01:28
Second killer pleads guilty in 1983 cold case
Frank Pomeroy, Wife AC360
CNN
Frank Pomeroy, Wife AC360
Now playing
05:55
Pastor's faith stronger after daughter's death
Left to right: Anthony Naiboa, Monica Hoffa, Benjamin Mitchell and Ronald Felton. Tampa homicide victims
Tampa Police Department
Left to right: Anthony Naiboa, Monica Hoffa, Benjamin Mitchell and Ronald Felton. Tampa homicide victims
Now playing
01:21
Tampa killings suspect arrested
CNN HLN
Now playing
00:47
Man to gunman: Shoot at me, not kids
charlottesville gunshot aclu virginia von_00000907.jpg
charlottesville gunshot aclu virginia von_00000907.jpg
Now playing
01:25
Man charged with firing gun at protesters
This undated still image from video provided by WTOV-TV in Steubenville, Ohio, shows Jefferson County, Ohio Judge Joseph Bruzzese Jr. Bruzzese was shot and wounded Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, as he walked toward his county's courthouse in Steubenville, Ohio, and a suspect was killed after a probation officer returned fire, officials said. (WTOV-TV via AP)
WTOV-TV /AP
This undated still image from video provided by WTOV-TV in Steubenville, Ohio, shows Jefferson County, Ohio Judge Joseph Bruzzese Jr. Bruzzese was shot and wounded Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, as he walked toward his county's courthouse in Steubenville, Ohio, and a suspect was killed after a probation officer returned fire, officials said. (WTOV-TV via AP)
Now playing
00:52
Ambushed judge returns fire, suspect dead
FILE- In this Oct. 5, 2016 file photo, Indian spiritual guru who calls himself Saint Dr. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan, center, greets followers as he arrives for a press conference ahead of the release of his new movie "MSG, The Warrior Lion Heart," in New Delhi, India. Several cities in north India were under a security lock down Thursday ahead of a verdict in a rape trial involving a controversial and hugely popular spiritual leader. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal, File)
Tsering Topgyal/AP
FILE- In this Oct. 5, 2016 file photo, Indian spiritual guru who calls himself Saint Dr. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan, center, greets followers as he arrives for a press conference ahead of the release of his new movie "MSG, The Warrior Lion Heart," in New Delhi, India. Several cities in north India were under a security lock down Thursday ahead of a verdict in a rape trial involving a controversial and hugely popular spiritual leader. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal, File)
Now playing
01:37
Deadly clashes after guru convicted of rape
Isra Chaker
Now playing
01:22
Death of Muslim teen near mosque investigated
Twitter post captions: Police and ambulances on Hackney/Queensbridge Road, possible acid/petrol attack. Lots of @UberEATS @Deliveroo drivers rallied round
@sarah_cobbold/Twitter
Twitter post captions: Police and ambulances on Hackney/Queensbridge Road, possible acid/petrol attack. Lots of @UberEATS @Deliveroo drivers rallied round
Now playing
01:27
5 acid attacks in 1 night in London
Walla News
Now playing
01:34
Authorities: Teen killed for dating Muslim
KDVR
Now playing
00:49
Veteran killed after saving teens
KATC
Now playing
02:06
Questions linger in Louisiana man's death
Bucks County Sheriff's Office
Now playing
01:16
Two men charged in homicides of missing men

Story highlights

Rafael Arnez McCloud was charged with raping, killing 69-year-old Sharon Wilson last year

He escaped jail last week; police say he took a Vicksburg family hostage on Thursday

The female hostage got a gun and shot McCloud, then unbound her husband who shot him more

(CNN) —  

Rafael Arnez McCloud allegedly had killed once before. More than eight months later – and days after escaping a Mississippi jail – he appeared poised to kill again. Wielding a bloody knife, he held a man, a woman and their 5-year-old son hostage in a bathroom of their Vicksburg home.

But this time, he was the one who ended up dead.

Early Thursday, the 24-year-old wife and mother, who’d been allowed to leave the bathroom, returned with a handgun and fired one shot at McCloud, police said. She then freed her husband, who “took control of the weapon and fired additional shots, striking McCloud.”

The husband went outside and flagged down a motorist, who called 911. Neighbor Ollie Dixon saw him outside, “wounded and bleeding everywhere.”

“He wasn’t screaming,” Dixon told CNN affiliate WLBT. “He was just looking like he was in shock.”

Shock soon reverberated elsewhere around western Mississippi. People there had been on edge for over a week since McCloud escaped from jail after holding an employee hostage and stealing his clothes.

Rafael McCloud was charged on murder, rape, arson, auto theft and other counts tied to Sharen Wilson's death.
Warren County Sheriff's Office
Rafael McCloud was charged on murder, rape, arson, auto theft and other counts tied to Sharen Wilson's death.

That set off an intense manhunt involving local, state and federal authorities. Its end – with the 34-year-old McCloud killed by his latest hostages – was “certainly not the outcome that we wanted,” Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said, but was a relief nonetheless.

Vicksburg police Capt. Sandra Williams said after the couple took down McCloud, “There’s no telling how many lives were saved.”

Ghosthunters find woman’s body

McCloud was awaiting trial in the death of 69-year-old Sharen Wilson, whose body was found in late June behind Kuhn Memorial State Hospital in Vicksburg.

The hospital, built in the 1830s and abandoned since its closing in 1989, remains popular among paranormal enthusiasts – as seen in an episode of “Ghost Asylum” filmed at the location – looking for lingering spirits.

In fact, ghost hunters alerted police after finding Wilson’s body near a tree line outside the hospital. A trail of fresh blood was inside the hospital, as reported by CNN affiliate WAPT.

“There was some trauma to the head and about the body,” Vicksburg Police Chief Walter Armstrong said then of Wilson.

It didn’t take long for authorities to pinpoint McCloud as the suspect. The charges subsequently filed against him suggest a horrific crime – sexual battery, rape, arson, home invasion, weapon possession by a felon, grand larceny auto theft and burglary, in addition to capital murder.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges in January. But investigators have said that McCloud admitted to kidnapping Wilson from her home and dumping her body in the grass behind the deserted, dilapidated hospital.

Gun rights advocates hold up case

Then, at about 6 a.m. on March 2, McCloud escaped the Warren County Jail in Vickburg, where he was awaiting trial in Wilson’s death.

He used a makeshift weapon to subdue a night shift employee at the jail, according to sheriff’s department investigator Mike Traxler. Then, McCloud forced him to give up his pants and jacket, and he walked out of the jail.

Afterward, Vicksburg police urged “citizens in the community to be alert at all times.” That meant, among other things, calling 911 immediately if they suspect a burglary, and taking weapons in from their car into their homes.

Now, many on social media are calling what happened Thursday morning in Vicksburg as a textbook example of why citizens should be armed – just in case they encounter someone like McCloud, they can act.

The National Rifle Association, the country’s leading gun rights group, reposted CNN.com’s story on its Twitter page, eliciting responses like, “Good for them, I’m sure if they weren’t armed, he would have killed them too.”

Some blasted those calling for gun control, while others expressed gratitude that this family had a firearm of their own.

One poster wrote, “Thank god they had a gun.”

Relief for a community ‘on edge’

The husband and his young son first ran into McCloud around 4 a.m. Thursday as they were going from inside the house to their garage, police said. Armed with a knife, the man forced them back inside.

He bound the family in the bathroom, but not very well. The husband “said he was able to free himself, fought with the suspect and sustained a stab wound to the back side of his shoulder,” according to Vicksburg police.

McCloud again restrained the man. Then at some point, and for an unexplained reason, he let the wife leave the bathroom.

She got a handgun, returned and shot McCloud once. After that, she cut her husband loose, and he too opened fire on McCloud. His body was found in the bathtub with multiple gunshot wounds.

With that, Vicksburg’s police chief said, “The hunt for Rafael McCloud (was) over.”

“It’s been a long, drawn out situation,” added Chief Armstrong. “… This community has been on edge for a very long time.”

Armstrong said it will be “part of our investigation to determine how many shots were fired.”

Karen Davis, a friend of Sharen Wilson, said she is glad there won’t be a trial, which she thinks “would have been a waste of taxpayer’s money.” She also told WAPT she’ll breathe easier knowing McCloud won’t hurt anyone else again.

“I’m not celebrating anyone’s death,” Davis said. “But I am very much relieved.”

CNN’s Catherine E. Shoichet, Mayra Cuevas, Steve Almasy, Jeffrey Acevedo and Dave Alsup contributed to this report.