1 staffer killed, another wounded in Colo. prison

Associated Press

CROWLEY, Colo. (AP) — A female kitchen employee was killed and another was seriously injured Monday in an assault involving an inmate while breakfast was being prepared at a state prison in southeast Colorado, a spokeswoman said.

The inmate was subdued, and the Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility in Crowley was put on lockdown, said Alison Morgan, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Corrections. The prison 45 miles east of Pueblo houses about 1,000 male prisoners.

Sgt. Lori Gann was listed in critical condition Monday at a hospital in Pueblo, Morgan said. She has worked for the Department of Corrections since March 2009.

The names of the other victim and the inmate weren't immediately released.

The Colorado Office of Inspector General and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation were investigating, The Pueblo Chieftain reported. Morgan said interviews were ongoing and it would be premature to provide details of the attack.

Gov. John Hickenlooper traveled to visit with the prison staff Monday. He issued a statement saying state officials were "doing all we can to support the families and employees impacted by this incident."

Many state prisons were locked down Monday so staff could support the Arkansas Valley facility. Food was being delivered from other state prisons.

In 1989, the Arkansas Valley facility gained international notoriety when a helicopter swooped into the yard and spirited two inmates to freedom. Prison officials said they could not fire on the aircraft because they couldn't get a clear shot. The prisoners were recaptured after they switched to a rental van and got into a gun battle with authorities in Nebraska.

Over the past decade, there have several high-profile disturbances at Colorado prisons.

In 2004, at the privately owned Crowley County Correctional Facility nearby, about 300 inmates ransacked two cell houses and prison offices and set dozens of fires. Several inmates were injured, including two seriously.

In Limon, in northeast Colorado, a prisoner was arrested after prison worker Eric Autobee was beaten to death in 2002 by a convicted child killer wielding a ladle. State corrections officers blamed staffing cuts because of state spending limits that forced the state to send more inmates to private prisons.

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