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, was 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.
But Williams’ sister, Lauren Williams, said a coroner told her he was stabbed multiple times, then hit on the head.
“There was just no reason, no reason at all,” Williams, 23, told The Associated Press. “There wasn’t a mean bone in him. He was not confrontational at all. He’s never been in a fight.”
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. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Harrisburg expressed condolences to Williams’ family and colleagues, but declined further comment.
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 federal prison guard was killed on the job was June 2008 in Atwater, Calif., the Bureau of Prisons said.
Williams, from Nanticoke, began his career with the bureau on Sept. 11, 2011. His sister said he graduated from King’s College with a criminal justice degree and worked in supermarket loss prevention and as a police officer before going to work in the federal prison system. “It was more of a stable job,” she said.
She said they spoke nearly every day and he never reported any problems at work. In fact, “he said he was kind of bored sometimes,” Lauren Williams said.
Eric Williams, who was single, loved to hunt, fish, play soccer and go bowling, and renovated a house near Lily Lake, a state-owned lake about 15 minutes from the family homestead in Nanticoke. In addition to his sister, he’s survived by his parents and two other brothers.
“One of his biggest things was he was funny. He loved comedy. He had a joke for everything,” recalled Lauren Williams, a senior at King’s College. “He was in the wrong field. He should have been a comedian.”
Of her brother’s killer, Williams said: “He’s already in jail. How do you get your justice?”
More Related Stories
- Illinois' fracking and coal rush is a national crisis
- Developers evict historic women's shelter to build luxury hotel
- Kaitlyn Hunt refuses plea offer, will go to court over high school relationship
- DHS admits "impossible" to control 3D-printed guns
- Journalists file suit against Manning trial secrecy
- Russia: Syrian regime ready to talk peace
- Report: Nearly a quarter of all Americans struggle to afford food
- Ted Cruz against the world
- Louie Gohmert: Women should be forced to carry nonviable pregnancies to term
- 2 men arrested for endangering commercial aircraft
- Oversized load blamed for bridge collapse
- This is what Guy Fieri looks like as a balloon
- Iran hackers aiming at U.S. energy firms
- Lawyers release data in attempt to discredit Trayvon Martin
- Anonymous rallies behind Kaitlyn Hunt
- Bridge collapse: Part of "aging infrastructure"
- Mistrial in penalty phase of Arias case
- Amanda Bynes arrested after hurling bong from window
- Interstate 5 bridge collapses north of Seattle
- Mississippi could begin prosecuting women for miscarriages
- Teenage girl claims she was beaten up for looking like Taylor Swift
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11