LUMBERTON — A Robeson County jail inmate accused of murder has confessed to faking a shoulder injury and using a handcuff key to make his short-lived escape, Robeson County’s sheriff said Tuesday.
“The deputies did a great job apprehending him,” Ken Sealey said. “It was a short escape when he ran, they ran him down and he was caught swiftly.”
Vayshawn McLean, 20, was returned to jail without putting up a fight, Sealey said. An investigation continues to determine how McLean got the key.
McLean, of Red Springs, was transported to Southeastern Regional Medical Center on Saturday after complaining of a shoulder injury. A jail nurse examined him and recommended he be taken to the hospital for treatment. Deputies secured McLean with leg shackles, handcuffs and a waist chain but left one wrist free because of his injury. Upon arrival at the hospital, the deputies parked in the emergency room parking lot space designated for law enforcement.
As soon as the deputies opened the van door McLean took a few steps, kicked one leg and broke free of the ankle cuff, Sealey said. McLean ran toward Biggs Park Mall, on North Elm Street. Deputies chased McLean and caught him about 75 yards from the van.
“Hospital security assisted promptly,” the sheriff said. “I want to thank them as well.”
No key was found on or near McLean. The goal of the investigation by members of the Sheriff’s Office’s Major CrimesUnit is to learn how McLean made his plan to escape during transport and how he was able to unlock his handcuff.
Inmates are secured with hand and ankle shackles, and a waist chain and are checked for contraband before they leave the Robeson County jail.
McLean was arrested in late December 2014 during a traffic stop in Cumberland County. He was a suspect in the fatal shooting of an elderly customer at a convenience store in Red Springs.
After his arrest McLean was charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, armed robbery, attempted aggravated assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury. He was jailed under a $461,000 secured bond.
McLean, 18 years old at the time of the murder, was one of at least five people arrested and charged in connection with the crime.
Reach Annick Joseph by calling 910-816-1989 or via email at [email protected]