MCSO: Detention officer attacked by inmate has died

Officials with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office announced late Wednesday night that the detention officer who was attacked by an inmate has died.

In a statement, officials said Gene Lee died surrounded by his family.

"Under these tragic circumstances and out of respect for the Lee family, MCSO will not be making any further statements tonight," read a portion of the statement.


Gene Lee (Courtesy: MCSO)

According to officials, the incident happened at Lower Buckeye Jail, with the officer, identified as Gene Lee, suffering life-threatening injuries.

The incident happened as Lee was beginning his shift, with the suspect, since identified as Daniel Davitt, catching Lee off guard. Davitt is accused of grabbing Lee by his throat.


Daniel Davitt

Davitt allegedly swept Lee's legs out from under him so aggressively, that when Lee was knocked off-balance and thrown to the floor, the first part of the body to strike the floor was his head.

Davitt is described by authorities as a man who has been in custody with the MCSO for the last two years, accused of sexual abuse and indecent exposure.

In a news conference held prior to Lee's death on Wednesday, doctors described Lee's condition as "moment-by-moment."

"The entire brain is affected by the pressure due to the blood from the injury, as well the swelling of the brain," said Dr. Paul Dobrowski, Trauma Surgeon with Banner University Medical Center.

According to Sheriff Paul Penzone, from what he knows at the moment, there had not been any interaction between Davitt and Lee up to that point.

Penzone also said other officers rushed to Lee's aid following the attack, and that Lee has not regained consciousness.

Lee was a six-year veteran of the sheriff's office.

"I want to be very clear that violence against law enforcement, first responders, public safety will not be tolerated," said Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel.

On Wednesday night, Gov. Doug Ducey spoke about Lee's death on his Twitter page.

The Director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, Col. Frank Milstead, also spoke about Lee's death.

The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report.