Sergeant Ruben Thomas
Florida Department of Corrections, Florida
End of Watch: Sunday, March 18, 2012
Tour of Duty: 6 years
Badge Number: Not available
Cause of Death: Stabbed
Date of Incident: March 18, 2012
Weapon Used: Edged weapon; Shank
Suspect Info: In custody
Agency Contact Information
Secretary of Corrections Kenneth Tucker
Florida Department of Corrections
501 South Calhoun Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399
Phone: (850) 488-5021
Sergeant Ruben Thomas was stabbed to death by an inmate at the Columbia Correctional Institution Annex.
At approximately 10:00 pm he was checking on an inmate in one of the prison’s dorms when the inmate attacked him. He was stabbed in the neck several times by the inmate who was armed with some sort shank. The inmate, who was serving a life sentence for murdering a college student, then struck another officer in the eye with a sock filled filled with a heavy item before being taken into custody.
Sergeant Thomas was transported to Shands Lake Shore Hospital where he succumbed to his wounds.
Sergeant Thomas had served with the Florida Department of Corrections for six years. He is survived by his young daughter and fiancee.
A 24-year-old corrections officer at Columbia Correctional Institution in Lake City was stabbed to death by an inmate on Sunday night, officials said Monday.
Sgt. Ruben Thomas died after he was stabbed at 10:24 p.m. while on duty, though it was not clear what weapon the inmate used, the Florida Department of Corrections said.
Another officer, William Brewer, was assaulted during the incident and was treated at a hospital and released. In a statement, the department said Brewer “will require further medical attention.”
According to the statement, witnesses said Thomas, who had been with the department for six years, was stabbed in the neck by Richard P. Franklin, who had been sentenced to life in prison in 1995 after he was convicted of first-degree murder and armed robbery in Volusia County.
Franklin, 37, had also been convicted of battery on a law enforcement officer, escape and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.
Department spokesman Steve Arthur said Franklin had a history of violence and causing trouble at the various prisons he had been.
Franklin arrived at Columbia on Aug. 25, Arthur said.
“He’s just been what looks like a really difficult prisoner,” Arthur said.
He said it wasn’t immediately clear whether Franklin had been charged with Thomas’ death as of late Monday morning.
In a statement, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said her “deepest condolences go out to the family, friends and colleagues of Sgt. Ruben Thomas of the Florida Department of Corrections.”
“My prayers for a quick recovery are with Officer William Brewer, who was injured during the incident,” Bondi said. “Law enforcement officers take serious risks for the safety of others, and I am grateful to our law enforcement community for their selfless dedication to protecting Floridians.”