An inmate who “severely assaulted” a Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office Detention Deputy on Christmas Day is now facing two felony charges of second degree assault on a peace officer.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, the incident happened Monday just after 5 p.m. as dinner was being served. Officials say the deputy opened the cell door of 34-year-old James Twiford to give him his meal when Twiford kicked open the door and rushed the deputy. Twiford seized both the radio and tracking tool from the deputy’s duty belt and hit him repeatedly on his face and in the head, according to authorities. Additional deputies responded to help control the situation.
An investigation determined that while deputies usually deliver meals through door slots in higher risk areas, Twiford’s particular slot was “dysfunctional.” Because of this, the meal had to be handed to Twiford through an open cell door.
The assaulted deputy was taken to a local hospital where he was treated for lacerations to his head. A responding deputy was also treated and released for injuries sustained while he rescued the other deputy.
Twiford was taken to a hospital and treated for minor injuries. He was released and taken back to the facility, where he was previously awaiting sentencing for a robbery case out of Jefferson County and controlled substance charges out of Denver County.
Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk M. Taylor reiterated his concern about the overcrowded and run-down facility, but credited deputies for their quick response.
“It can’t be stated enough, current detention conditions pose additional safety risks. But right now my primary focus is to ensure this deputy, his partners, and all the men and women who work here know, we stand beside them in their worry and concern for their partner and we thank him and each of them for the work they do every day,” he said.