Guard killed at federal prison in Pennsylvania

February 26, 2013
(U.S. Bureau of Prisons photo)
(U.S. Bureau of Prisons)

A federal correctional officer was killed Monday night by an inmate at the high-security Canaan penitentiary in Pennsylvania, according to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.

Officer Eric Williams, 34, of Nanticoke, Penn., was working in a housing unit when he was fatally stabbed with a homemade weapon, according to the agency. He had worked with the bureau for less than two years.

“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,” Canaan Warden David Ebbert said in a statement Tuesday.

The Bureau of Prisons said authorities had placed Canaan on lockdown after the incident and that “the community was never in danger.”

The agency said in its news release that an investigation into Williams’s killing is underway and that prison staff had restrained a suspect.

The American Federation of Government Employees and its affiliated Council of Prison Locals issued as statement on Tuesday mourning the guard’s death.

“We are deeply saddened by the senseless death of one of our correctional officers,” said AFGE national president J. David Cox Sr. “Eric Williams was a dedicated officer, and this is a terrible loss. We send our heartfelt sympathies and condolences to his family and coworkers at this very difficult time.”

The last federal correctional officer to be killed by an inmate was José Rivera, who was stabbed at the Atwater penitentiary in California in 2008, according to the Council of Prison Locals.

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Josh Hicks covers the federal government and anchors the Federal Eye blog. He reported for newspapers in the Detroit and Seattle suburbs before joining the Post as a contributor to Glenn Kessler’s Fact Checker blog in 2011.
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Josh Hicks · February 26, 2013