Inmate charged after alleged assault of Delaware officers

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SMYRNA — A 22-year-old prison inmate has been charged with assault and other offenses connected with an alleged attack that left two correctional officers injured last month, authorities said Wednesday.

Korah Pitts, of Penns Grove, New Jersey was arrested Tuesday after investigation into an incident at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna on Aug. 19, according to Delaware State Police spokesman Senior Cpl. Jason Hatchell.

Police allege that Pitts attacked the correctional officers – males ages 54 and 61 – with an improvised device, striking them in the head while performing their normal duties.

According to police in a probable cause affidavit, the alleged incident occurred at approximately 7:30 p.m. in the Secured Housing Unit.

Pitts allegedly pulled a white sock with a padlock attached from his waistband and struck a correctional officer approximately four to five times on the head, causing large lacerations, the affidavit said.

Another correctional officer attempted to take Pitts to the ground, documents said, and was struck by the sock tied to the padlock several times on the head, causing severe damage to the right eye,

One correctional officer sprayed Pitts with Pepper Spray, the affidavit said,

Additional officers arrived as the incident unfolded, and police said Pitts was then restrained and placed in handcuffs.

The officers were transported to an area hospital and treated for injuries to the head and face, police said.

Deputy Bureau Chief of Prisons Paul Shavack said the officers remain off duty as they recover from injuries.

Pitts was charged with two counts each of reckless assault in a detention facility with serious injury, first-degree assault, intentionally causing injury to an officer, and possession of a deadly weapon during the commission of a felony, along with single counts of promoting prison contraband, resisting arrest with force, carrying a concealed deadly weapon, and criminal mischief.

Following arraignment by Justice of the Peace Court 3, Pitts remains in the custody of the Department of Correction on a $121,600 unsecured bond. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Sept. 26.

According to Mr. Shavack, Pitts has been incarcerated in the Department of Correction since August 2018 on a sentence for first-degree robbery and possession of a deadly weapon during the commission of a felony.

Following the arrest announcement by state police, the Department of Correction released a statement from Commissioner Monroe B. Hudson Jr. that read:

 “This case underscores the challenging and dangerous environment our officers and staff work in every day. We are grateful that our officers are recovering and we appreciate the diligent investigation that is ongoing. 

“The Department of Correction will continue to work closely with the Delaware State Police and Department of Justice to ensure justice is appropriately carried out in this case.”

According to the affidavit, inmates are issued padlocks to secure personal property within their assigned cells.

The total amount of damage to Department of Correction property was valued at $1,127, which included a guard's wand and holster, two shoulder microphones and a uniform shirt, the affidavit said.

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