IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A nurse and a correctional officer at a high-security prison in eastern Iowa died after an inmate attacked multiple staff members and other inmates, state officials said.
The attack happened at around 10:15 a.m. in the prison infirmary at the state penitentiary in the eastern Iowa city of Anamosa, according to a statement from the Iowa Department of Corrections.
The department said that it was still collecting and confirming details of the assault.
“What the department can confirm is that an inmate attacked multiple staff members and inmates in the prison’s infirmary. As a result of their injuries, a correctional nurse and correctional officer have died,” the department said in a statement.
The department said that additional security staff arrived and restrained the inmate. Employees began attempting first aid on the two injured employees until paramedics arrived.
No other details were immediately available, and the department said that state police were joining the investigation.
The prison houses about 945 inmates and has both maximum- and medium-security wings and has around 320 staff members.
Hundreds of inmates at the prison have tested positive for coronavirus in the last year, including during a major outbreak last year. Six have died of complications from the virus, the most at any prison in Iowa.
AFSCME Council 61 President Danny Homan, whose union represents Iowa correctional employees, said that to his knowledge, the workers were the first killed by an inmate since he started at the union in 1988. He said he was still gathering information about what happened.
“Sad day,” he told The Associated Press. “From my perspective, that is a failure of the system. I don’t know how or why or any particulars. But somebody failed because those two employees are not getting to go home this evening.”