WINDSOR, N.C. (WNCN) — A state prison officer died Wednesday after being assaulted by an inmate.
Sgt. Meggan Lee Callahan, 29, of Edenton, was attacked around 5:30 p.m. at Bertie Correctional Institute, according to officials. She and other guards had rushed to inmate Craig Wissink’s living area to deal with a situation. When they got there, he attacked her. She died around 6:20 p.m., officials said.
Authorities are investigating Wissink in connection with her death, officials said. Wissink has been in prison for more than a decade after being convicted of first-degree murder in Cumberland County and sentenced to life in prison.
CBS North Carolina’s sister station WAVY asked officials if Wissink used a weapon, but officials wouldn’t comment.
They did release a statement though.
“I am deeply saddened and send my heartfelt sympathies to Sgt. Callahan’s family,” Public Safety Secretary Erik A. Hooks said. “We will do all we can to support her family as well as the correctional family. The department will cooperate fully with the law enforcement investigation as well as conduct its own internal investigation.”
Gov. Roy Cooper released a short statement on his Facebook page Thursday saying, “I’m deeply saddened by this tragedy. This reminds us of the risks that law enforcement including correctional officers take every day to protect us.”
Cooper ordered all North Carolina flags at state facilities be flown at half-staff until sunset on Friday in tribute to Callahan.
Callahan had been with the North Carolina Department of Public Safety since 2012. She was promoted to sergeant in February 2016.
Thursday, her friends in Edenton couldn’t believe the news.
“I was hoping [the news] was wrong because she meant a lot to a lot of people,” lifelong friend Michelle Rowell told WAVY.
Rowell described Callahan as a humorous person, but more like family to her friends.
The State Bureau of Investigation has been asked to conduct a full investigation into Callahan’s death.