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Fla. Corrections Officer Stabbed to Death by Inmate

A Florida Department of Corrections officer was stabbed to death by an inmate Sunday night at a prison near Lake City.

Corrections Officer Ruben Thomas was attacked by an inmate shortly before 10 a.m. at the Columbia Correctional Institute annex, according to WJXT-TV.

Secretary of the Department of Corrections Ken Tucker told the news station that Thomas was in one of the wings of a dorm checking on an inmate when another officer saw inmate Richard Franklin chase him down and stab him several times in the neck with a handmade weapon.

Thomas was transported to Shands Lake Shore Hospital in Lake City where he died.

A second officer, William Brewer, was trying to lock down inmates when Franklin swung something heavy in a sock, striking him in the eye. He also was taken to a hospital, where he was treated and released.

The prison is working to help other officers cope with the tragedy.

"Chaplains were brought in to help the staff work through this," Tucker said. "They lost more than a co-worker, they lost a friend."

Franklin -- who was serving a life sentence on several charges including the 2004 murder of a Bethune-Cookman College student in Daytona Beach, battery on a law enforcement officer and escape -- will be transferred to a maximum security prison and the incident will be investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Thomas had a young daughter and was engaged to be married.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

The last Florida corrections officer killed by an inmate was Donna Fitzgerald, who died after being attacked June 25, 2008, at Tomoka Correctional Institution.