Escaped Inmate Killed by Family He Held Hostage – Defensive Gun Use of the Day


By James England via

An escaped inmate met his end after breaking into a family’s Vicksburg, Pennsylvania home and being shot by the homeowners after a tense hostage situation. Warren County Jail officials confirmed the identity of the deceased inmate, Rafael McCloud, 34, after Vicksburg Police removed his body from the property. The husband and wife and their 5-year-old son were moved into a bathroom while the inmate was attempting to work out a hostage negotiation. Police reports indicate that . . .

the wife was the first to be able to access a gun and fire it at the fugitive. The husband then followed up and shot him again. McCloud was declared dead with multiple gunshot wounds including one to the head.

From the Vicksburg Post:

“We are incredibly relieved this family was not seriously injured and they were able to protect themselves this morning,” Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said. “It’s been a long week for this community and we appreciate the cooperation of the public as we have pursued this community.”

The husband was taken to a nearby medical center for treatment for a non-life-threatening stab wound and the wife reportedly suffered minor damage after being hit in the head.

McCloud had been wearing nice new jeans, fitted tennis shoes and other items indicating that he had either received help after his escape from jail or had broken in and or robbed several other people to attain the items. Reports circulated throughout the Fort Hill area of sightings of McCloud before he was killed in this stand-off. He had escaped by stabbing and overpowering a guard at the jail with a homemade shank.

This is literally a nightmare situation for any young family. As much as we’d like to believe that everything’s going to be alright in a situation like this — McCloud definitely showed clear signs he was not at all afraid to use severe violence to achieve his means. Thankfully, the wife took it upon herself to mount a defense and the husband did the right thing and backed her up. Negotiations be damned — there’s no negotiating when your child’s safety is threatened. McCloud picked the wrong home to mess with.

It takes a lot of courage to know that a bad situation isn’t getting any better — and if you fight, you at least have a chance.

As concealed carriers, gun owners,  and folks who know the evil that lurks in the hearts of men, we have to realize that Warren County Sheriff’s Office first priority was getting this guy back in front of a jury.

“This is certainly not how we wanted this to end,” said Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace. “Our goal was to take him back into custody and have him stand before a jury in Warren County. But he brought this upon himself.”

By the time McCloud made it in front of a jury, if he had his way, there could have been several more bodies being put into the ground. Thank goodness it was his and not theirs.


  1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

    “we have to realize that Warren County Sheriff’s Office first priority was getting this guy back in front of a jury.

    “This is certainly not how we wanted this to end,” said Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace. “Our goal was to take him back into custody and have him stand before a jury in Warren County. But he brought this upon himself.””

    The true believer Statist is a thing to behold.

    I get that this is a PR comment designed to ‘soften’ the appearance of the LE community, but it’s just wrong.

    Question for Sheriff Pace: Why won’t you say it is your goal to stop the violent actor from harming innocent people, including five-year-olds?”

    And, quick follow-up if I may. Will McCloud be a recidivist? COULD he have become a recidivist had you stood him in front of a jury?

    1. avatar Peldrigal says:

      Because if police upon their own will can handle death sentences for offences that don’t carry one, you might as well call them Judges and give them golden epaulettes.

      1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

        We are talking about a known violent offender holding a family hostage, not the cops executing someone for a parking ticket. The police, just like the hostages themselves, would be justified for using deadly force in this case; this is the kind of think police marksman train for.

        Besides, that wasn’t what I was talking about anyway.

        The point of my comment was that rather than saying something like “This was the right outcome for this set of facts,” the Statist says the real goal was for the State meeting out “punishment.”

        The “State Solution” to the problem was rendered moot by self-reliant people acting. That kind of thing rubs Statists wrong, whether it is in regard to armed self defense or growing one’s own tomatoes.

        1. avatar SteveInCO says:

          He did at least concede that the perp “brought this upon himself” But your point definitely stands.

          Under Freudian Slip of the day, it is interesting that at the end of the first quote the sheriff said they had been “pursuing the community.”

        2. avatar Katy says:

          He never states that the goal was punishment, only that the criminal captured and tried by a jury, as should be the ideal outcome for any criminal act. We are a nation of laws and part of that social compact is the endeavor to maintain that pact even when it does not seem palatable. What he suggests is that in the face of emotion to the contrary, he chooses to abide by the compact and the law – something that flies in the face of the notion of jackboots who are perceived as only enforcing the laws that, and as they, suit them.

          He further recognizes and acknowledges that this outcome was acceptable, that the death was of his own doing and not the result of any wrong-doing by the family. He never acts as if he was rubbed the wrong way or put out that the family came to its own defence.

        3. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

          I didn’t read his remarks in that light. I think he was just expressing his desire for the police to have captured him before he victimized anyone else.

        4. avatar LarryinTX says:

          “meting out punishment”

        5. avatar JR_in_NC says:

          ““meting out punishment””

          Good catch. I type fast and often don’t notice errors, and I am VERY poor at proofreading comment posts.

      2. avatar Andrew Lias says:

        It is indeed our job as his peers to find him guilty, not the States unless circumstances as these are present.

      3. avatar pwrserge says:

        … and the problem with that would be? Notice how violent crime has only become a problem when the “Law and Order” crowd got involved. Crime is a risk / reward analysis. Criminals aren’t suicidal, if the probable risk is death and the reward is eventual death the crime rate will drop like a rock.

        1. avatar Scott says:

          This assumes that criminals are rational players in this game. There are clearly exceptional situations where normally rational people don’t bother with any analysis. The lottery for instance.

        2. avatar LarryinTX says:

          Scott, the rational players will find a new line of work. The irrational will die. All good results.

        3. avatar int19h says:

          The problem with that would be the lack of due process.

          If you need someone to explain to you why due process is a good thing, you should take Civics 101.

        4. avatar JR_in_NC says:

          “This assumes that criminals are rational players in this game. There are clearly exceptional situations where normally rational people don’t bother with any analysis. The lottery for instance.”

          Give a listen to any of William Aprill’s lectures on how violent offenders select victims. It is fascinating.

          The short (lay interpreted) version is that they might follow a different set of rules compared to non-violence-prone people, but they are every bit as rational in their decision making process.

          In fact, the underlying “thin slicing” process is very similar to what we all do every day, it’s just directed at a particular event (a violent act) rather than the more socially acceptable ways the rest of us do it.

          I think trying to understand their process is paramount to the avoidance leg of having a “Lifelong commitment to avoidance, deterrence and de-escalation.”

      4. avatar Xanderbach says:

        So long as they also get the flying bikes, I’m almost okay with this.

      5. avatar Huntmaster says:

        Don’t forget the five Stars……

        1. avatar Rog Uinta says:

          You mean the Three Seashells?

  2. avatar Mad Max says:

    That would be Vicksburg, Mississippi, not Pennsylvania.

    1. avatar Jeff in MS says:

      Yeah, how did they miss that?

  3. avatar wrightl3 says:

    Glad the family is ok and thank God that they had a gun.

  4. avatar peirsonb says:

    May have to consider taping a gun under the toilet tank lid….

    On that thought, remember that as improvised weapons go that’s one heavy ass piece of porcelain should the need arise.

    1. avatar Anner says:

      Zombieland kill #1. When throwing rolls of toilet paper won’t do.

      1. avatar Robb says:

        Enjoy the little things.

    2. avatar Sixpack70 says:

      Toilet guns are a great idea. You are never more vulnerable than when taking a shower or sit ting on the pot.

      1. avatar SteveInCO says:

        The eventual posting of my stainless revolver, once the “new” wears off, is the bathroom. Humidity is a thing there.

        1. avatar Geoff PR says:

          Stash it in a ziplock freezer bag with one of those “Do Not Eat” desiccant packs…

        2. avatar SteveInCO says:


          Yes, precisely. It should even be possible to pull the trigger without removing it from the bag, with no hazard of the bag jamming the action (otherwise, I’d just put a Glock in the bag).

    3. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      “… as improvised weapons go that’s one heavy ass piece of porcelain …”

      And lest anyone dismiss PiersonB’s point, I refer you to this video of a man using a porcelain sink to subdue a wild boar!

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        Nice. eventually, one good ‘thump’ then run it the Hell over… 🙂

    4. avatar ThomasR says:

      Nah. Home carry, so where ever you are, if a predator breaks in, you have a firearm immediately available. So all you need to do when going to take a shower or to use the toilet is to take it off and keep it within arms reach while doing ones business.

      1. avatar FlamencoD says:

        This! I home carry all the time since, well, you never know.

  5. avatar Lee Dawson says:

    Please follow up on this. I can see somebody saying they should not have shot the poor dangerous criminal as the police “had it under control and were negotiating with him”. Some might even say their lives weren’t in danger at that particular moment. For me, I agree, with me bleeding and my wife hit, and my child in the room, I would have fired.

    1. I can see the argument being made but it’s pretty well destroyed by the simple fact that the family’s status as “hostage” hadn’t changed. That being the case, their right and duty to resist by force or escape never changed. Nor did the perp’s status change from hostile invader in a private home to which he violently entered. Until the moment he would have (in theory) surrendered the family had reason and cause to smoke his punk arse. They can’t know for sure that the guy who’d violently assaulted and taken them hostage had any intention on releasing them until he had already done it and any force levied against him should easily be shown to be the reasonable actions of a rational person in a similar situation. Cowardice might be considered rational by some but when the question goes to the jury of the reasonableness of the actions of the ma and pa, I think the jury is likely to err on the side of, “Dude had it comin’.”

      If he hadn’t hurt anyone in the home or made threats of or actual violence against them I could get behind the idea that he don’t need killin’. As soon as you bring a fight into another mans home though, you’re in that fight until the man/woman/child in the house all decide you’re not.

      To my mind the dead guy made a series of ridiculously short sighted and tactically insane decisions. He started by putting himself in a situation where emerging alive was almost an impossibility and every time he had the chance to make a better choice, he made a worse one until he was hemmed in and the family noticed that and the bad guy went instantly from predator to prey.

      1. avatar Lee Dawson says:

        What scares me is the apparent increase in home invasions with somebody at home. We have 3 recently in the Raleigh NC area. Most think of a burglar coming in while you away but it seems the trend (or maybe I have just started noticing it) is the break-in while people are at home. Jenna Meek wrote in her book, “Calling the Shots, Self-Protection and Firearm Choices that Work for You” how she recommends carrying the weapons all the time at home as it keeps people (children) from finding the gun and accidentally discharging it but also so one will have it when needed in cases like this.

        BTW, a friend did the photography for the cover (not the artwork) and he told me about it which is how I discovered it. A very good book for somebody looking to go Concealed Carry. ($3.99)

  6. avatar Red Sox says:

    Here in M_assachusetts the DA would argue that since both adults had guns they were in charge and thereby have a duty to retreat and then charge the parents with voluntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment to a child.

    1. avatar TTACer says:

      If a DA attempted to bring charges against a family in that situation they should be hung.

      1. avatar SteveInCO says:

        You mean hanged.

        I doubt seriously he’d be hung, but of course the best person to ask would be his wife. (I’m sure in Massachusetts a hypothetical douchebag DA like this would find someone confused enough to marry him.)

      2. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

        In Harris County (Houston, Tx), all homicide cases go to the Grand Jury, where the D.A. presents the case for indictment. It isn’t about some overzealous prosecutor hammering a citizen over a righteous shoot and looking to make a name for himself. It’s about the rule of law, due process, and having numerous sets of disinterested eyes examine the evidence to determine whether a crime has likely been committed.

        Think about it. What do you know about this case? How do you know it? All you know is what this site and the original reporter wrote, which could be anything compared to the truth. We must allow the system to work, every time, and not take shortcuts in cases where we already “know” the bad guy did it and everyone else is a hero.

        If it comes out in this case, for example, that the escapee was definitively neutralized after the wife’s first shot, then the husband’s subsequent shot to the head raises concerns. Take a hypothetical case, where the deceased isn’t already a built-in bad guy. His being shot dead by police could be legitimate, or perhaps an officer acted rashly.

        Only a thorough investigation covers those bases. Otherwise “bad guy’s dead, case closed” when it’s a homeowner shooter, starts to sound like “keep moving, nothing to see here”, when it’s an officer shooter.

        1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

          Fair enough argument for the Grand Jury process.

          Now, are you prepared to say that he should not have to pay any legal fees up to the point a True Bill is rendered?

          I think that’s one of our fundamental problems in the issue of self defense shootings. It can be financially crippling even if one is ultimately found “It WAS self defense and what he did was okay.”

          Loser pays sounds good for civil suits; but how would that work out in criminal cases, where the taxpayer is paying for the investigation and the prosecution (ie, presentation to the Grand Jury, and in fact impaneling the GJ to being with.

          Do we just accept this is a cost of living in a “society of laws?” I’d be good with that, actually, so long as other non-universally beneficial public expenditures were reigned in completely.

        2. avatar LarryinTX says:

          “If it comes out in this case, for example, that the escapee was definitively neutralized after the wife’s first shot, then the husband’s subsequent shot to the head raises concerns.”

          It does not raise concerns to me. Even if the husband was not carrying a stab wound at the time. Asshat was in husband’s home committing violent crimes. If he’d been found with a bullet hole every inch from his toe to his face, it raises no concerns with me. The word needs to get out that a homeowner will be prosecuted in a case like this if it is proved that he dragged the criminal into his home, kicking and screaming, so that he could have the joy of shooting him. Absolutely ANY other scenario, the ass of the criminal belongs to him for as long as he desires it, he can gut, skin and EAT the MF, the answer is “stay out of other people’s homes”. Pretty easy, if you understand what awaits you if you don’t. If you think you are legally entitled to treat any home as if you own it, and the actual owner will be prosecuted for refusing you full access to his home, his wife, his daughter, well, that is what we have NOW. It needs to change.

  7. avatar gs650g says:

    Nice to see McCloud is no longer incarcerated at taxpayers expense.
    Order new rugs. Hope the 5 yo isn’t too shook up, the parents are true heros.

    1. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

      I’m not sure if heroism plays into it. It was survival and staying one’s life and/or family’s life.

      Heroism would be if a stranger or neighbor heard the incident from across the street and came to their aid, risking their own safety for others.

      Even a cornered rat will defend itself – self defense is a natural right, yes, but heroism it is not.

      It appears to me, the term hero has been highjacked and taken into realms I don’t think it should venture. After 9/11, the term hero started getting handed out like Socialism at a Bernie rally and I think it just kept carrying on from there, to the point of blurring the actual meaning.

      Also, in case you were wondering, I’m a hero for this comment.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        I beg to differ. You’re an anti hero for that remark.

      2. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Hero, non hero, WGAS, really? Good guys and children alive tonight, bad guys dead and no longer a drag on civilized society, win-win all the way around. It worked out as it always should. Which means every family should be armed and ready within their own home. Duh.

        1. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

          I cannot argue with results, especially when it has bow on it.

      3. avatar gs650g says:

        I’m convinced they were heros since they acted the way they did instead of wasting time reasoning with scum. I’d like to buy the whole family dinner in their favorite place.

        To their child they were both heros.

        1. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

          Fair enough

  8. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    “It’s been a long week for this community and we appreciate the cooperation of the public …”

    Hah! “cooperation of the public” … that is a statist spin for sure. Once again government demonstrates its impotence. It is up to each and every one of us to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities.

  9. avatar SteveInCO says:

    Anyone else notice how the sheriff said they had “pursued this community”?

    Freudian slip of the week, out of the mouths of statists…

  10. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

    “This is certainly not how we wanted this to end,” said Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace. “Our goal was to take him back into custody and have him stand before a jury in Warren County. But he brought this upon himself.”

    Well, he was half right. I thought it ended swimmingly.

  11. avatar Rooster says:

    The Sheriff is upset that this “man” won’t be able to stab anymore COs or take any more hostages?

    1. avatar Lib lurker says:

      I very much understand the comments, but do we all really want the sheriff. Saying we the police can’t wait to shoot him dead? Collars are the job, not executions

  12. avatar Kyle says:

    In Washington D.C. some time ago, there was a criminal who broke into a home in a high-end area with a family in it. He tortured the man and woman and children (or child, I forget), then killed them all.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      For 50 years, that has happened over, and over, and over so many times that your description covers dozens of recurrences. The number of cases where the intended victims killed the perp are massively fewer, this case is news.

    2. avatar gs650g says:

      The dumbass ordered pizza and left DNA to lead to him. He was found in NYC.

  13. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    I love a happy ending.

  14. avatar THC says:

    . More home invasions should end like that, shot in the head, and mom and pop are heroes in the childs eyes, nobody else matters.

  15. avatar LarryinTX says:


  16. avatar jwm says:

    kapo bloomberg is drooling on the top of shannon’s head as he adds this death to the stats for “Gun Violence.”

    1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

      While at the same time smiling for the camera and saying “DGU’s never happen. They are a figment of under-endowed fat white guys with a hero complex.”

      Then, just for good measure, they’ll say a woman cannot defend herself or her family with a gun. The bad guy will just take it from her and use it on her. This case will be used as evidence of that, all the while knowing that their listeners won’t bother to look it up to see that the statement is utter, unquestionable bull feces.

  17. avatar James69 says:

    Glad to see the family safe and the offender in a bag. See Rule # 2.

  18. avatar Brian M says:

    Thank God he won’t be counted towards the recidivism rate. Who knew hundreds of thousands of dollars of public funds could be saved be a few cents of lead, copper, brass, nitrocellulose, and a few other things.

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