A Fresno County correctional officer was stabbed by an inmate while serving dinner in the county jail, the sheriff’s office said Monday.
Officers were serving meals about 6:30 p.m. Saturday when Charlie Michael Smith ambushed the officer, stabbing him repeatedly in the back and head with a sharpened broom-handle weapon he made in jail, Sheriff Margaret Mims said.
“Within just a few seconds, he was subdued,” Mims said. “However, he was able to stab the correctional officer several times in the back, side and in the back of the head.”
Other correctional officers detained Smith and placed him in a holding cell, the sheriff’s office said. The injured correctional officer, who has worked in the jail since December 2015, was taken to a hospital for treatment, including stitches, and was sent home Sunday.
“I did talk to him over the telephone and he was very optimistic about coming back to work,” Mims said, of the correctional officer. “In fact, he said he’d try to be back before the end of the week.”
You go into this profession knowing that there’s danger.
Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims
The sheriff’s office does not know what motivated the attack. “There had been no past conflict or contact between this correctional officer and the inmate,” Mims said.
Smith, 33, was was arrested on Jan. 26 for being a parolee in possession of a firearm and was recently convicted, Mims said. Smith was scheduled to be transported to Wasco State Prison this week to serve a sentence of two years and eight months.
As a result of this latest crime, he will now be held at the Fresno County Jail to face an attempted murder charge, Mims said. Smith’s prior convictions include: Carjacking, robbery and assault with a deadly weapon.
Attacks with jail-made weapons on jail staff members are extremely rare, Mims said.“Physical confrontations happen weekly but with a weapon – I can’t remember the last time a correctional officer was attacked with a jail-made weapon.”
“Our training is top-notch,” Mims said. “However, you go into this profession knowing that there’s danger.”