3 officers airlifted to hospital after assault at Hickman County prison

(Photo: WKRN)

ONLY, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Tennessee Department of Correction says two officers were stabbed and a third physically assaulted at a Hickman County prison Sunday afternoon.

It happened around 4 p.m. during a disturbance involving 16 inmates at a housing unit in the Turney Center Industrial Complex in Only, Tennessee, about 60 miles west of Nashville. See their mug shots below this story.

Two of the guards were immediately airlifted to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and the other was held hostage.

(Photo: WKRN)

TDOC called the incident an “unprovoked attack” on the staff by inmates who “may have ties to a security threat group.”

During the ordeal, one of the inmates, who is a convicted murderer, called our newsroom.

He said, “We let the other officer go so he can get medical attention. We’re trying to do the same thing with this officer now, but we’re just trying to make sure…They don’t want to give the officer up right now without the vans, the buses coming in, so they can be transported.”

The inmate went on to say, “Everybody’s on edge in here, everybody’s on edge, and they know if they give the officer up, more than likely people are going to die. There’s already been some officers in here, they are ready to kill. These officers are ready to kill.”

The officer that was held hostage was eventually released after several hours and flown to a hospital for treatment.

By 7 p.m., the situation was resolved and officials regained control of the housing unit. The inmates involved were immediately moved to a maximum security facility.

The inmate who called News 2 said he and the other prisoners wanted to be transferred to Riverbend Maximum Security Institution. It was not immediately clear if this was the facility they were taken to.

In the meantime, the prison will remain on lockdown, while the Office of Investigation and Compliance and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation look into what happened.

TDOC said Monday that injured Officer Lester Hall was released from Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Officers Jesse Shockley and Paul Nielsen remain hospitalized and are listed in stable condition.

Past assaults at Turney Center Industrial Complex

This is not the first time the Turney Center Industrial Complex has dealt with assaults.

In September 2015, an inmate assaulted an officer. Other officials stepped in quickly, and the officer who was attacked recovered.

Also in May 2012, two officers and two inmates were hurt during a fight.

Before that, two inmates were charged with attempted murder for stabbing a prison guard multiple times in May 2011.