(WXYZ) — Wayne County Corporal Bryant Searcy, an 18-year veteran, was a "consummate professional," Sheriff Benny Napoleon said in a press conference Thursday.
Searcy was attacked by an inmate at Jail Division 2 in downtown Detroit around 10 p.m. Wednesday night. Searcy was gravely injured and treated on scene. He was then transported to Detroit Receiving Hospital, where he later died from his injuries.
Sheriff Napoleon said Searcy was "viciously assaulted" while he was in the process of locking down inmates.
He is survived by his wife and his 21-year-old daughter.
"When you lose an officer in the line of duty, it tugs at you," Wayne County Executive Warren Evans said. "Hits you hard.
Sheriff Napoleon said some of the most dangerous criminals in America are housed in the Wayne County Jail. Officers understand the environment they're working in, he said, yet, they go to work every day.
"Very tough job under very tough circumstances," he said.
Sheriff Napoleon said there was an outpouring of support for Searcy's family. He was very well loved by his coworkers and respected by his supervisors.
"Big, big loss to this agency," Sheriff Napoleon said. "He was a consummate professional, very much a person who recognized that he was in charge of the care of inmates, but very professional in his interactions with them."
Sheriff Napoleon said the inmate is 28 years old, and this is not his first time being involved in a serious crime. He was moved to the Detroit Detention Facility for processing.
Sources tell us the inmate who allegedly attacked him had been arrested for carjacking and armed robbery.
We're told that Searcy was conducted rounds alone when he was attacked. They are supposed to be conducted in tandem, but for some reason, his partner was performing rounds on the opposite side of the floor, leaving Searcy alone. They are investigating why he was alone. It was several minutes before he was found.
We're also told that the alleged suspect put something in the lock of the jail cell to prevent it from locking. That allowed him to attack the corporal.
There are two investigations connected to the incident; the Detroit Police Department is conducting a criminal investigation, while the Wayne County Sheriff's Office is conducting an internal policy investigation.
Wayne County Commission Chair Alisha Bell released the following statement about Searcy's death:
Our hearts go out to Corporal Searcy’s family and to all members of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department at this tragic time.
This horrific event reminds us again of the challenges of law enforcement officers face, and the sacrifices they make, in protecting us all. I have asked the Commission’s Public Safety, Judiciary and Homeland Security Committee to conduct a full discussion with the sheriff’s department regarding this tragic incident to prevent a tragedy like this from ever happening again.
That meeting is expected to be held Wednesday, September 9 on Zoom.