A day after brutal attack on prison manager, 2 more officers assaulted at NC prison

Steel recreation cages used by inmates in solitary confinement at Central Prison in Raleigh on Aug. 2, 2016
Steel recreation cages used by inmates in solitary confinement at Central Prison in Raleigh on Aug. 2, 2016

Less than a day after a brutal assault on a high-ranking manager at Central Prison, two more officers at the prison were assaulted Wednesday morning, officials said.

The officers, whose names have not been released, were assaulted by an inmate at about 8 a.m. in a prison dining area, according to the N.C. Department of Public Safety. The inmate hit the officers with his fists, officials said.

The injured officers were treated at an outside medical facility and released.

Brent Soucier, the prison unit manager who was attacked Tuesday afternoon, remained in stable condition at a nearby hospital, officials said.

Armed with a homemade weapon, inmates cut, beat and repeatedly stabbed Soucier, sources said.

Brent Soucier.jpg
Unit manager Brent Soucier

The attack occurred around 12:30 p.m. in a prison housing area, according to Pamela Walker, spokesperson for the N.C. Department of Public Safety. The area remained on lockdown Wednesday morning.

The inmates accused of assaulting Soucier have been identified as Jaquan Lane, 23, and Andrew Ellis, 32. Both were hospitalized, according to DPS. Lane was returned to Central Prison Tuesday night, but Ellis remains in a local hospital, where he is being treated for non-life-threatening injuries, state officials said.

Jaquan Lane.jfif
Inmate Jaquan Lane

Andrew Ellis.jfif
Inmate Andrew Ellis

Lane, who was convicted of robbery with a dangerous weapon, was taken to a local hospital for nonlife-threatening injuries, DPS said. Since 2016, prison officials have cited Lane four times for assaulting staff members. He was also cited in 2016 and 2017 for involvement with a gang.

Ellis, considered a habitual felon, was convicted of possession of a firearm by a felon and discharging a firearm in an occupied building.

Both had been transferred to Central Prison in recent months from Lanesboro Correctional Institution, southeast of Charlotte.

The incident is under investigation, Walker said, and the State Bureau of Investigation is involved.

Soucier, 44, has worked for the prison system for 19 years. He was one of the officers named in a 2013 federal lawsuit alleging that officers at Central Prison frequently beat handcuffed inmates in parts of the prison that weren’t monitored by video cameras. The state reached settlements with all but one of the eight inmates who filed that lawsuit.

Many of North Carolina's prisons have been struggling with dangerous staff shortages, the Charlotte Observer has reported.

Rosie Anderson was brutally attacked inside Central Prison in 2015. She survived - and posted the video of when she was attacked, hoping to make prisons safer. Since then, three other North Carolina prison employees have been killed. Read the stor

Better staffing might have saved the lives of the five prison employees who died in attacks last year at two Eastern North Carolina prisons, experts and officers told the Observer.

State figures show that in April 2017, when Sgt. Meggan Callahan was killed at Bertie Correctional Institution, roughly one of every five correctional officer positions there was vacant.

At 5:52 p.m. on April 26, a guard at Bertie Correctional Institution in northeastern N.C. reported that Sgt. Meggan Callahan had been attacked.

And at Pasquotank Correctional Institution – where four employees were fatally injured during a failed escape attempt on Oct. 12 – the staffing problems have been even worse. In October, more than 28 percent of officer positions were vacant – up from 17 percent three years earlier.

Four prison employees were killed during an attempted escape at Pasquotank Correctional Institution in Elizabeth City, N.C.

N.C. Rep. Bob Steinburg, R- Edenton, said he has become alarmed by the frequency of serious assaults on prison officers.

"The governor has got to get off his duff and do something," Steinburg said.

Staff writer Joe Marusak contributed.

Alexander: 704-358-5060, @amesalex