Police: Dead burglar believed to be escaped Mississippi inmate

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Hostages Kill Their Captor

VICKSBURG, Miss., March 10 (Reuters) - Mississippi police said they believe an inmate who escaped from jail last week broke into a house on Thursday and was shot dead after a struggle with the homeowners.

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Rafael McCloud, 34, used a homemade knife to take a jail employee hostage last week and escaped from the Warren County Jail in Vicksburg, police said.

McCloud is believed to be the dead suspect, but the burglar has not yet been positively identified, Vicksburg Police Chief Walter Armstrong said.

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The burglar forced his way into the house around 4:30 a.m. and held hostage the family living there - a married couple with a four-year-old child, he said.

At some point, the husband and wife, who had been tied up, managed to get free. One or both of the homeowners then shot McCloud dead, Armstrong said.

He said the husband sustained non-life threatening injuries after being stabbed during the morning incident, which appeared to have lasted for several hours before police received an emergency call around 7 a.m.

McCloud had been held on charges including rape and capital murder in the death of a woman last June.

His escape resulted in an extensive manhunt around Vicksburg, about 45 miles west of Jackson, Mississippi.

"This community has been on edge for a very long time," Armstrong told a news conference, expressing relief that no one in the household was badly harmed during the incident.

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