The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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February 26, 2013

Officials: Inmate kills guard at Pa. prison

An inmate using a homemade weapon attacked and killed a guard at a federal prison in northeastern Pennsylvania on Monday night, making him the first federal corrections officer killed on the job in nearly five years, officials said Tuesday.

Correctional Officer Eric Williams, 34, was working in a housing unit at the Canaan federal penitentiary when an inmate attacked him, according to prison officials. Other prison staff restrained the inmate, and Williams was rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 11:30 p.m.

“This is clearly the darkest day in our institution’s short history, and we are in shock over this senseless loss of a colleague and friend,” Warden David Ebbert said in a statement.

The high-security prison in Waymart, about 20 miles northeast of Scranton, has been placed on lockdown, and an investigation is under way.

Officials did not immediately release details of the attack, including the inmate’s name, the kind of weapon or what, if anything, led to the attack.

An FBI spokesman in Philadelphia declined comment, saying details would be released when the inmate is charged. It wasn’t immediately clear when that would happen.

Williams, from Nanticoke, began his career with the Bureau of Prisons on Sept. 11, 2011.

At least three inmates have been killed at the prison, which houses 1,350 high-security male inmates. A satellite camp houses 136 minimum-security inmates. The complex opened in 2005.

The last time a guard was killed on the job was June 2008 in Atwater, Calif., the Bureau of Prisons said.

 

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