July 24, 2018 09:03 AM
Prisons across Minnesota were on lockdown Thursday morning after a corrections officer was killed by an inmate at the Stillwater prison.
Sources told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS convicted murderer Edward Johnson attacked Officer Joseph Gomm with a hammer Wednesday afternoon.
Sources said the incident happened in an industrial building where inmates have access to tools and pipes. Authorities said there can be up to 20 inmates in the welding shop and carpentry building at a time, as typically one officer makes the rounds.
Authorities said Gomm was on patrol Wednesday when he was attacked.
"We believe for the first time in history, we've lost an officer to violence at our institution at Stillwater," Minnesota Department of Corrections Commissioner Tom Roy said.
Gomm was a 16-year veteran of the department. The union representing Gomm—AFSCME Local 600, Corrections Policy Committee and Council 5—issued a statement, saying,
We are grieving the tragic loss of Brother Joseph Gomm. Our hearts are heavy for his family, friends, and co-workers.
We offer our deepest sympathy and unconditional support for his family. We also offer our deepest sympathy to all who were touched by this wonderful man.
We ask that everyone cherish their lives every day.
Counselors will be on hand for prison workers Thursday to help them with the loss.
Roy said the Stillwater prison had 1,616 prisoners, about one-third of them serving homicide sentences.
According to the Minnesota DOC, attacks on corrections officers are rare. In fiscal year 2016, one assault was reported and in fiscal year 2015, 2 assaults were reported. There was one homicide in fiscal year 2014, according to the department.
JUST IN: The brother of Ofc. Joseph Gomm tells me "Joe had one of the kindest souls, heart, and was dedicated to his job, life, and family...” Today he and his work family are in mourning. More coverage on @kstp. pic.twitter.com/zlvwfXYKz1— Ryan Raiche (@ryanraiche) July 19, 2018
Stay with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS and KSTP.com for the latest on this developing news.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Jonathan Rozelle & Rebecca Omastiak
Updated: July 24, 2018 09:03 AM
Created: July 19, 2018 06:05 AM
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