A correctional officer at Lewis Prison was stabbed in the chest Wednesday morning by an inmate armed with a piece of metal, according to multiple sources.
In a statement from the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADOC), a spokesperson said the officer was transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
The attack happened around 10:30 a.m. in the prison’s Buckley Unit -- one of the three units exposed in an investigation by our sister station ABC15 that have cell doors that don’t properly lock.
The ADOC spokesperson said an inmate was being escorted out of his housing pod to the prison's medical facility after complaining of dizziness to officers.
While being transported, the inmate pulled out "an improvised prison-made weapon and began swinging at a correctional officer, stabbing him in the chest."
Sources said the weapon was an 8-inch piece of metal with a shoelace string for a handle.
BREAKING: A lieutenant at Lewis Prison Buckley Unit (one of the units with broken locks) was just stabbed in the chest around 10:30 am. by an inmate with an 8" piece of metal, multiple sources tell @abc15.— Dave Biscobing (@DaveBiscobing15) May 8, 2019
We're working to get more info / reach out for official comment.
Dozens of steel pins used in door locking mechanisms at the prison have been lost in the past year, according to months of security inspection records. However, ADOC claims the weapon fashioned did not include one of those pins.
ADOC said while the investigation is ongoing, "It appears the weapon used in the attack was fashioned from a portable immersion heater coil, not a door pin."
"Preliminary information on this incident indicates that it was not related to the functionality of doors or locking mechanisms at the prison," the ADOC spokesperson continued. "Additionally, the housing unit where the incident occurred was fully staffed at the time of the incident."
The inmate will be moved to maximum security housing and will face criminal charges for the stabbing.
Tensions in Lewis Prison have been high since ABC15 exposed how many doors inside multiple units of Lewis Prison don’t properly lock – and haven’t for years.
On April 26, the day after ABC15’s report broke, Director Charles Ryan ordered the emergency padlocking of up to 1,000 cells in Lewis Prison. The move was in violation of state fire codes and has stretched staff resources.
The padlocking has also incensed inmates, who have been making threats against officers, multiple sources said. On Monday, the department announced it would be transferring many inmates to other prisons across the state because of safety and staffing concerns.
Take a look at timeline below to see all of the coverage stemming from ABC15's investigation of broken cell locks at Lewis Prison.