Tampa, FL – Security footage captured the moment when a Hillsborough County jail inmate attacked a detention officer from behind and began strangling her with a pillowcase (video below).
The incident occurred inside the women’s pod at the Falkenburg Road Jail shortly before 1 a.m. on June 7, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO), 42-year-old inmate Bridgette Lee Harvey approached HCSO Detention Deputy Lillian Jimenez and told her that another inmate needed help in the women’s bathroom area.
Detention Deputy Jimenez went into the restroom to check on the inmate, who was later identified as 37-year-old April Christina Colvin, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Security footage from inside the jail showed the detention deputy standing with her back to the rest of the pod when Harvey suddenly moved in behind her and began choking her with a pillow case.
As she fought for her life, Detention Deputy Jimenez managed to radio for help, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Multiple inmates also jumped up and ran into the bathroom area to help the struggling detention deputy, video footage showed.
They grabbed Harvey and tore the pillowcase away from Detention Deputy Jimenez’s neck, freeing her from the homicidal inmate’s grasp.
Additional detention center staff ran in and subdued the inmate, who later allegedly confessed to having planned the attack, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Detention Deputy Jimenez suffered minor injuries to her throat and neck as a result of the assault.
According to the HCSO, Harvey was found in possession of a shiv she had created out of a comb by sharpening both ends with her teeth, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Harvey was originally arrested and booked into the jail facility on May 31 due to a home invasion robbery charge out of Pasco County.
She has since been charged with escape from confinement, introduction of contraband into a detention facility, and aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer with a weapon, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Her alleged co-conspirator, Colvin, was originally arrested on charges of possession of a controlled substance, petit theft, loitering or prowling, and resisting a law enforcement officer without violence on May 24.
Colvin now faces an additional charge of escape from confinement, according to the HCSO.
Harvey and Colvin were both moved to solitary confinement, as were two other inmates who allegedly played a role in the attack on Detention Deputy Jimenez, CNN reported.
Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister praised the inmates who rushed to Detention Deputy Jimenez’s aid during the brutal assault.
“While these inmates put our deputy in danger, there were others who did the right thing by coming to her aid, and for that, I am grateful,” Sheriff Chronister said, according to FOX News. “Thanks to the quick response of our Emergency Response Team and the inmates who showed compassion to help our deputy, a dire situation turned into the safe rescue of Deputy Jimenez. The assailant and her co-conspirator now face additional charges for assaulting her.”
One of the inmates, Mary Jean, played a particularly prominent role in stopping what investigators said was an escape attempt, KSTU reported.
“She said she saw the deputy’s feet in the air and she had to do what she could – and there was possibly a shank that she saw at the moment,” one of Jean’s attorneys, Denitsa Kolev, told the news outlet. “It shows she really is a good person.”
Jean suffered a broken hand while helping Detention Deputy Jimenez.
Kolev said Jean also intervened in a different attack when inmate Stephanie Camera assaulted a detention deputy who was working on a computer at the jail facility, KSTU reported.
Camera was subsequently charged with resisting with violence and battery of a law enforcement officer.
Kolev said Sheriff Chronister recognized Jean for her heroic efforts by giving her a pizza party after the June 7 incident.
“She was really excited about it,” the attorney added.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. Warning – Graphic Content: