A Phoenix area jail officer who was comatose after being attacked by an inmate has died, authorities said.
The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office said in a brief statement that Officer Gene Lee died Wednesday night. The inmate accused of attacking Lee has been transferred to a jail in another county outside Phoenix, authorities said.
Sheriff Paul Penzone said in a videotaped statement that Daniel Davitt, 59, attacked Lee without provocation Tuesday morning by grabbing Lee by his throat from behind and knocking his feet out from under him.
Penzone said Lee’s head hit the cement floor and he never regained consciousness.
Davitt awaits trial on charges of sex crimes involving children and is representing himself in court.
Penzone called Lee’s death “tragic and egregious” and called Davitt “a criminal predator with no respect for authority, human life or the community.”
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey ordered flags at all state buildings lowered to half-staff Thursday.
He said Lee’s life was “taken far too soon” and that the officer put his life on the line to ensure the safety of his fellow citizens and officers.”