Prisoner accused of killing correctional officer identified
Updated On: Sep 27 2012 12:50:43 AM CDT
The inmate accused in the deadly attack against two correctional officers at the Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility has been identified as 33-year-old Miguel Contreras-Perez.
Official say that Contreras-Perez acted alone when he attacked the officers, killing one and critically injuring the other on Monday.
55-year-old Sergeant Mary K. Ricard was killed in the attack. The other officer, Sgt. Lori Gann, was critically injured and taken to Parkview Medical Center in Pueblo for treatment.
Alison Morgan, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Correction, said the incident happened in the kitchen during early-morning breakfast preparations. Morgan said lower-risk inmates regularly help prepare meals there.
Contreras-Perez is serving a 35-year to life sentence for the crimes of kidnapping and sexual assault with a deadly weapon.
"It was a limited, isolated assault," said Morgan during a briefing Monday afternoon at the San Carlos Correctional Facility in Pueblo.
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the Office of the Inspector General are conducting a probe into the attack.
Ricard began her career with the Colorado Department of Corrections at Buena Vista Correctional Facility in November 2003. She transferred to Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility in February 2007.
Many DOC facilities remain on lockdown until the investigation is complete. Morgan said the move is to provide the AVCF with any necessary resources. Meals for inmates at the facility are being prepared at and brought in from other DOC facilities, she said.
Gov. John Hickenlooper visited the injured officer at Parkview on Monday afternoon after touring the AVCF earlier. He released the following statement regarding the incident:
"We are deeply saddened by the death this morning of a staff member at the Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility. Our condolences go to her family and her co-workers at the facility. Our hearts and prayers are also with the staff member who was injured and remains hospitalized. We are doing all we can to support the families and employees impacted by this incident."
Among those attending Monday's briefing was Buffie McFadyen, a former state lawmaker who now serves as executive director of Corrections USA, a nationwide nonprofit group representing corrections officers and staff.
McFadyen said she worries about safety and understaffing at the facility since two state budget cuts in the past decade. The DOC said the facility currently has 999 inmates with a capacity of 1,007, overseen by a staff of 324.
"We remember police officers, the State Patrol and sheriff's deputies," said McFadyen. "But we don't often remember the correctional officers who work 24 hours a day, seven days a week with the same people we lock up."
Morgan said the population at the AVCF is a mix of minimum, medium and close custody inmates. Close is the next step before maximum, the most serious level of offenders.
Tom Clements, DOC executive director, did not attend Monday's briefing because he's recovering from a serious bicycle accident. Morgan said Clements is following the investigation from his hospital bed, and conveyed condolences to the officers' families.
"We're hurting and we're in mourning," said Morgan about the DOC.
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