Officer, inmate assaulted at Columbus prison; Inmates overdose, too

By DEUCE NIVEN

     Local and state investigators are looking into the stabbing of a Correctional Officer at Columbus Correctional Institution (CCI) near the town of Brunswick, District Attorney Jon David said Friday.

     A series of incidents at CCI including the stabbing of the Correctional Officer, an apparently unrelated violent assault on an inmate, and two inmate overdoses are under review by the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, an agency spokesman said.

     A “home-made ‘shank’ style cutting implement” was used on the attack against the officer at about 6:35 p.m. Thursday, a news release from David said.

     Injuries to the officer were “non-life threatening,” NCDPS spokesman Jerry Higgins said Friday.

     An investigation into the attack was immediately launched by the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office, with early coordination from the District Attorney’s Office, David said.

     A formal request was made Friday for the State Bureau of Investigation to assist in the investigation, David said.

     “Correctional officers perform a difficult task in a dangerous environment,” Davis said. “When one of their members is savagely attacked by an inmate, we have a special responsibility to vigorously pursue justice.”

     Additional information, including the identity of additional suspect or suspects, is not being released at this point in the investigation, David said.

Inmate attack, overdose

     An inmate was injured Friday morning in a separate, unrelated incident, Higgins said in response to a question about an inmate whose throat was reportedly cut. That inmate was taken to “a local hospital,” Higgins said.

     In response to a question about two inmates who reportedly overdosed at CCI in the past week and revived following CPR, Higgins replied the men had been “transported to local hospital.”

     There have been no management changes at CCI as a result of the incidents, Higgins said, but reviews are underway.

     “We always review each situation individually,” Higgins said. “We try to plan for each situation but there is no policy that prevents situations from occurring.

     “We have emergency plans and procedures in place to deal with attacks on correctional officers, as well as inmate/inmate assaults.”

     Look for updates as warranted here, and in the next Tabor-Loris Tribune in print and online.