Mississippi Pastor ‘Willing to Do Anything for Anybody’ Killed By Prison Escapee After He Pulled Over to Help the Man Who Wrecked His Motorcycle 

An inmate who escaped from a prison in Mississippi is suspected of murdering a pastor that stopped to help him while he was pulled over on the side of the road and stealing his pickup truck.

Dylan Arrington is one of four inmates reported to have escaped from Raymond Detention Center near Jackson, Mississippi, on Saturday night. The other three inmates were Casey Grayson, Corey Harrison and Jerry Raynes.

The inmates escaped through breaches in a cell and the roof. According to Hinds County Sheriff Tyree Jones, he said the men probably camped on the roof before fleeing and going their separate ways.

Mugshot of Dylan Arrington released by Hinds County Sheriff’s office (left); Rev. Anthony Watts standing in his pulpit at his church (right). (Photos: Screenshots from WLBT News Twitter page)

The 22-year-old is suspected of killing Anthony Watts, 61, around 7 p.m. on Monday night. He reportedly shot and killed Watts when the pastor pulled over to help a man who had wrecked a motorcycle. Police say that the man who Watts helped shot him several times and stole his Red Dodge Ram truck, and that man was Arrington.

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The pastor reportedly died at the scene.

Watts was the head pastor of St. Mary Missionary Baptist Church in D’Lo, Mississippi.

“Not only was he my dad, but he was also my pastor, and he knew how to balance both well,” Watts’ daughter Kristin Watts said in a statement. “Many times us PKs [preachers’ kids] are under a radar of perfection. He used to always tell me, ‘You are not the preacher, and you need to live your life, but you know how to act, as well. Me and your mama raised you, but what you do with that is on you.”

Police said Watts’ stolen Red Dodge Ram was last seen heading south on Interstate 55 in Terry, Mississippi.

“Based on information gathered from investigators, the suspect … fit the description of 22-year-old Dylan Arrington,” Jackson Police Chief James E. Davis said.

Hinds County Sheriff’s office said in a statement on Tuesday, “There is speculation that one of the escapees could be possibly responsible for this incident being investigated by JPD, but that can’t be confirmed due to the lack of information being provided at this time.”

The four inmates were reportedly in custody for various felony charges that mostly involved theft. Arrington had charges of auto theft and illegal possession of a firearm, according to Hinds County Sheriff’s office.

After Arrington allegedly killed Watts and stole his truck, the escapee reportedly made his way to Leake County, which is about 80 miles away from Hinds County. While in Leake County, Arrington barricaded himself inside a home before getting into a shootout with officers and dying in a house fire.

The Leake County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement: “The suspect was located at the residence on 2511 Conway Rd early Wednesday morning. At around 7:10 a.m. the suspect shot from within his location in the home striking Investigator Horn in the lower right leg. Horn was transported to Leake Baptist where he was stabilized.”

Leake County Sheriff Randy Atkinson told WAPT that a resident of the home was also barricaded inside with Arrington.

“He came running out of the residence and said, ‘He’s inside the house,’ and that’s when we covered both sides of the house, and that’s when the individual started shooting from the residence, which struck my deputy,” Atkinson said to WAPT.

The police standoff reportedly ended two hours later, and Arrington was pronounced dead.

“While the house was engulfed in flames, we do believe he 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. We believe that the individual was possibly struck, but of course, we don’t have that information right now,” Jones said to WAPT. “Whether he died by gunfire or whether he died as a result of the fire, that is to be determined.”

Watts’ family and friends spoke about how good of a person he was.

“Reverend Watts was a person that loved everyone. He didn’t meet no stranger. He would help you, do anything he could for you. He just loved everyone, and we loved him,” church member Vivan Ross said to WLBT News.

“He was a good man, willing to do anything for anybody. And he showed that every day of his life,” said Rev. Carl Burton to WLBT News.

The other three Hinds County escapees are still at large as of this writing.

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