Arizona detention officer dies after inmate attacked him, officials say

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Police: Detention officer dies after inmate attacked him

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

An Arizona detention officer has died after an inmate attacked him at a Maricopa County jail, officials said.

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According to KTVK, Officer Gene Lee, 64, died Wednesday night after Lower Buckeye Jail inmate Daniel Davitt, 59, attacked him Tuesday, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said.

Update 6:35 a.m. EDT Nov. 1: Arrest documents obtained by the Arizona Republic regarding the attack on Lee detail jail video showing Davitt speaking with Lee before grabbing the officer's throat, placing his right leg behind Lee's feet and pushing him to the ground.

Davitt made his initial court appearance on an aggravated assault charge in Maricopa County Superior Court Wednesday.

Amanda Steele, a spokeswoman for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, told the Republic her office has not yet received a submission for additional charges since Lee's death.

Original reportAccording to KTVK, Officer Gene Lee, 64, died Wednesday night after Lower Buckeye Jail inmate Daniel Davitt, 59, attacked him Tuesday, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said.

 

"Earlier tonight, Detention Officer Lee, surrounded by his family, passed away," the department tweeted late Wednesday. "Under these tragic circumstances and out of respect for the Lee family, MCSO will not be making any further statements tonight. Please keep the entire Lee family, friends and his MCSO colleagues in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time."

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey echoed the sentiment in his own post.

"Maricopa County Detention Officer Gene Lee put his life on the line to keep his fellow citizens and officers safe," Ducey tweeted. "His loss is felt by all Arizonans. My sincere condolences go out to his family and loved ones."

Lee had been with the department for six years, the Arizona Republic reported.

Sheriff Paul Penzone said Davitt, who had been jailed in connection with child sex crimes, seized Lee's throat Tuesday morning "and then swept his legs out from under him so aggressively that when he was knocked off balance and thrown to the floor, the first part of his body to strike the cement was his head," according to the newspaper.

Penzone pledged to prosecute Davitt, who is now at a jail in neighboring Pinal County, KTVK reported. Further information about what charges he may face was not immediately available.

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