Sergeant Mary K. Ricard
Colorado Department of Corrections, Colorado
End of Watch: Monday, September 24, 2012
Tour of Duty: 9 years
Badge Number: Not available
Cause of Death: Assault
Date of Incident: September 24, 2012
Weapon Used: Person
Suspect Info: In custody
Agency Contact Information
Executive Director Tom Clements
Colorado Department of Corrections
2862 South Circle Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80906
Phone: (719) 226-4701
Sergeant Mary Ricard was killed when she and another correction’s sergeant were attacked by an inmate at the Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility in Crowley, Colorado.
The inmate attacked the two in the kitchen area of the medium-security prison while breakfast was being served. The inmate was able to inflict serious wounds on both sergeants before being subdued. Sergeant Ricard succumbed to her injuries while the other sergeant remains in critical condition.
Sergeant Ricard had served with the Colorado Department of Corrections for nine years.
Authorities say a convicted child rapist is a "person of interest" in the murder of a 55-year old female correctional officer at Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility near Ordway.
Miguel Alonso Contreras-Perez, who is serving 35 years to life for the sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl in Colorado Springs, has been transferred to Colorado State Penitentiary in Cañon City, said Alison Morgan, spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Corrections.
"The investigation into the death of Sgt. Mary Ricard continues," Morgan said. "Mr. Contreras-Perez is a person of interest in this investigation. Mr. Contreras-Perez is considered innocent until he is proven guilty in a court of law."
Morgan said she could not comment on the facts of the case.
Ricard was killed as she supervised inmates preparing breakfast Monday for inmates. Sgt. Lori Gann was seriously injured in the same incident. Gann was transferred to Pueblo’s Parkview Hospital in Pueblo, where she is in critical condition.
Investigators believe Contreras-Perez used a sharp object to attack the officers, sources told 9News. Ricard died at the prison.
Contreras-Perez, born in El Salvador, was convicted in 2004 of sexual assault, armed with a deadly weapon and was sent to Buena Vista Correctional Institute, where he stayed from 2004 to June of 2011.
Ricard began her 9-year correctional career at the Buena Vista Correctional Facility in 2003, before transferring to the Ordway prison five years ago.
Her funeral is scheduled for this weekend.
A viewing will be held Friday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Runyan Mortuary, 316 Main St. in Buena Vista. A graveside service is planned at the Mount Olivet Cemetery at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Ricard was killed while working on her day off.
"She wanted to make a difference," Arkansas Valley Warden Steve Hartley said Tuesday. "She was a great person; very dedicated. She was there on her day off."
Morgan said 17 investigators from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the state Inspector General’s Office are on the case.
"She was well-liked," Morgan said of Ricard Tuesday. "The staff at Buena Vista and Arkansas Valley are hurting."
Morgan said Gann’s injuries were serious. "Her family is with her," she said.
Gann has worked at the prison since 2009.
The kitchen is similar in size — and stocks similar implements — to a large college cafeteria. At the prison, staff members supervise a large number of inmate workers authorized to work with all the implements used in the kitchen, including knives and large preparation implements.
"We provide meals for 1,000 inmates three times a day," Morgan said.
On Tuesday, inmates and staff members at Limon prepared meals for the inmates at Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility, whose inmates are in full lockdown.
All medium and closed (high) security prisons in the state are on partial lockdown so that additional staff from other prisons can assist in prison operations at Arkansas Valley, Morgan said.
Currently CBI forensic analysts are preserving and collecting evidence in the Arkansas Valley kitchen for a criminal prosecution.
"The time will come that we will look at our operations to determine what changes need to be made," Morgan said.
Arkansas Valley opened in 1987. It has held minimum, medium and closed security inmates. Arkansas Valley has 324 staff members. The prison has minimum security inmates, so they can fulfill custodial and grounds maintenance duties.
Morgan declined to comment on the security levels of the inmates involved in the fatal attack Monday morning.
"We want to preserve the integrity of the criminal justice investigation," Morgan said.
The prison is rated for 1,007 inmates and had 999 inmates on Monday when the incident happened.
In 2002, convicted killer Edward Montour Jr. beat DOC correctional officer Eric Autobee to death with a large ladle in Limon Correctional Facility’s kitchen.
Before Autobee’s death, it had been 73 years since the last state corrections officer was killed. In 1929, seven guards and five inmates were killed in an all-night riot.