Shooting, stolen car could be linked to fugitive Mississippi murder suspect

Rafael McCloud.

Rafael McCloud.  (Warren County Jail)

Police in Vicksburg, Miss. said they were investigating whether the shooting of a driver Sunday was linked to Rafael McCloud, the capital murder suspect who broke out of prison last week.

The driver's silver 2014 Honda Accord was stolen before an officer on patrol found the 52-year-old man face-down in a parking lot, police said. Paramedics rushed the driver to the hospital in critical condition, The Clarion-Ledger reports.

When asked whether McCloud was involved, Vicksburg police chief Walter Armstrong said, "It's still too early to say." He added that investigators found no evidence at the shooting scene, and the victim was in such bad shape that he initially couldn't talk to them.

The manhunt for McCloud, 34, entered its sixth day Monday. Local, state and federal officers combed abandoned buildings in Vicksburg and followed tips, Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said.

McCloud escaped from the Warren County Jail early Wednesday using a homemade shank to waylay a jail employee and force him to give up his pants and jacket, Pace added.

Early Thursday morning, police found the pants on the site of an abandoned hospital where ghost hunters in 2015 found the body of 69-year-old Sharen Wilson. McCloud was arrested and indicted on murder and rape charges. He could face the death penalty if convicted.

Local authorities offer a $7,500 reward for McCloud's capture, urging residents to phone in tips but stay away from McCloud.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.