Prison guard commits suicide on duty www.privateofficer.com
By: Rick McCann/Staff
PRIVATE OFFICER NEWS
Authorities responded to a shooting of a correctional officer at the Pasquotank Correctional Institution Monday morning and found the officer outside the fence line.
Pasquotank Sheriff Randy Cartwright said Officer Malikka Smith, 26, is believed to have shot herself with her prison-issued service weapon sometime before 8 a.m. on Monday.
Correction personnel became concerned after Smith failed to answer radio calls at 8 a.m. and went to investigate. They discovered her slumped in her patrol vehicle, Cartwright said.
Cartwright, whose office is investigating Smith’s death, said the officer started her shift at the prison at 6 a.m. Smith’s job was to patrol a road outside the prison’s fence line checking for security breaches.
Cartwright said Smith’s death is being investigated as a suicide.
“It doesn’t seem to be any foul play,” he said.
The sheriff’s office is questioning Smith’s co-workers and other prison employees as part of its investigation. Cartwright’s office is looking into several possible reasons for Smith’s actions, but the sheriff said he was not prepared to comment on them.
“We’re looking into some possible reasons, yes, but nothing that we can release right now,” he said.
Keith Acree, a spokesman for the N.C. Department of Correction, said his agency had no information on why Smith would want to take her own life. He said DOC will look into the matter to determine what lead to Smith’s death and whether her work duties played any role.
Acree said Smith had worked for DOC since August 2004. He was not sure if Smith had worked at any other prisons besides Pasquotank Correctional Institution.
Cartwright said he couldn’t remember a recent incident in which an on-duty officer committed suicide.