Security personnel responded to the attack shortly after 10 a.m. and restrained the inmate while staff attempted life-saving first aid on the injured. It’s unclear how many other staff members were hurt.
“Today, our state grieves the loss of two public servants who were attacked while on duty at the Anamosa State Penitentiary,” Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said in a statement Tuesday.
“My prayers and deepest condolences are with their families, friends, and colleagues as they begin to cope with this senseless tragedy. We will exhaust every available resource to deliver justice to those who committed this act and bring a sense of closure and peace to the victims’ families.”
The Iowa Department of Corrections and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation are investigating the incident. Names of the victims will not be released until their families are notified.
It’s the first time that prison staff members have been killed by an inmate in Iowa since 1969, but staff members have been assaulted multiple times recently at the Anamosa State Penitentiary.
Just last month, an inmate hit an officer in the face and injured another officer’s hand during a struggle. Last summer, an inmate attacked a captain with a piece of aluminum.
Anamosa State Penitentiary is a “maximum/medium security” prison that currently holds about 950 inmates.
Danny Homan, president of AFSCME Council 61, the labor union which represents staff at the prison, told KCRG that “no one should ever have to go to work and worry about whether they will come home or not.”
“Unfortunately for two Iowans who had committed their lives to keeping our communities safe, they won’t be going home tonight,” Homan said in a statement to the local news outlet. “Our prayers are with their families, co-workers and loved ones during this time, and we will do everything we can to honor their memory.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.