Officer who stopped inmate attack receives Governor’s Honor Award for Heroism

Officer who stopped inmate attack receives Governor’s Honor Award for Heroism
2019 Governor's Honor Award (Source: Tom Saunders)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A Virginia Department of Corrections officer has received the Governor’s Honor Award for Heroism.

Officer Tyler Thornsberry intervened in a potentially fatal inmate attack on another correctional officer on Dec. 2, 2018.

Those familiar with the incident that occurred at the Red Onion State Prison say the quick response probably saved his fellow officer’s life.

The incident occurred as an officer escorted the offender from his cell to another area. The offender turned and began stabbing the officer with a sharpened plastic weapon.

Officer Thornsberry turned the corner and jumped into the incident as the other officer sustained stab injuries to the head and chest area. He was then able to subdue and restrain the offender.

“There really wasn’t much time to think,” he said. “I just reacted based on my training.”

The offender, Keith Dwane McDuffie, faces one count of attempted capital murder, two counts of assault and battery on a corrections officer and one count of possession of an unauthorized weapon by an inmate.

McDuffie has been arraigned and has two January court dates scheduled in Wise County Circuit Court.

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