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Massachusetts officers disarm inmate holding woman hostage.

King Williams, a correctional counselor at the Pondville Correctional Center in Norfolk, Mass., was meeting with an inmate the afternoon of July 11, 1992, when he sensed that another counselor's meeting with an inmate wasn't going well.

"I had a funny feeling that something was up," Williams said. When he pushed back his chair, Williams saw the inmate threatening the counselor with a chef's fork.

Williams calmly ordered several other inmates to leave the room and began walking toward the agitated inmate. The inmate, still brandishing the fork, ran down a corridor and dragged his correctional counselor from the nurse's station into a staff bathroom. At that time, a nurse raised the alarm.

Williams, Shift Commander Michael Thomas and Correctional Counselor Michael O'Connor each rushed to the scene to help. Because of the speed with which the counselors reacted to the crisis, O'Connor was able to open the door, which was not locked. The three officers then entered the room, where the inmate was threatening to kill his hostage.

In a matter of seconds, O'Connor and Williams disarmed the inmate and Thomas handcuffed him. The inmate's correctional counselor got away unharmed.

O'Connor, who has worked in corrections three years, said the incident didn't affect his feelings about being a corrections officer. "It was my job, I did what I had to," he said. "Unfortunately, it happened, but I hope it never does again."

Williams, who was shot twice during his previous career as a substance abuse counselor, said the incident was one of the most traumatic events he's ever experienced. "At first I couldn't believe it had happened," he said. "I kept thinking it was a training drill - but we had passed."

Thomas also was shaken by the incident. "It was over in five minutes, but it took me about five hours to calm down," the 17-year veteran said. "I don't remember driving home afterward at all."

O'Connor, Thomas and Williams received the Massachusetts Department of Corrections 1992 Humanitarian Award for their immediate response and decisive action. The award citation states, "They have exemplified the comradeship and professionalism which we have grown to expect from our colleagues each and every day."
COPYRIGHT 1993 American Correctional Association, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Article Details
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Author:Spertzel, Jody K.
Publication:Corrections Today
Date:Jul 1, 1993
Words:361
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