Sheriff: Falkenburg Inmate tries to strangle detention deputy with a towel

Attack shows daily dangers detention deputies face
Posted at 5:49 PM, Mar 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-02 02:15:09-05

A Falkenburg Road Jail inmate attacked a detention deputy and attempted to strangle him Tuesday afternoon.

Hillsborough County detention deputy D. Hernandez was attacked from behind as an inmate, 22-year-old Kiondre Zachery, seen on surveillance video tried to strangle him with a towel.




The unprovoked attack happened in a pod with approximately 72 inmates, the sheriff’s office said. 

“My white shirt was scarlet, I bled quite a bit,” retired detention deputy Nelson Birch told ABC Action News reporter Michael Paluska. Birch’s neck was sliced by an inmate in November 2007. Seeing the recent attack on Hernandez made him relive his own brush with death.

“I'm sure he'll make it but even to this day I go to counseling, and I was diagnosed with PTSD,” Birch said. I go to counseling every seven days. There's many nights you'll wake up in a sweat and you'll relive that incident. I don't call it a dream I call it a nightmare.”

Birch said he had to get five stitches and the jailhouse shank, made with a toothbrush and razor blade, missing his jugular by inches. Birch didn't even know he was wounded until the inmate told him, “I cut you, man!”

Birch went back to work for another two years. The retired 16-year-veteran hopes Hernandez won’t change his career path. But cautions, you just never know when someone will attack.

“Like I said, remember the word complacency, and if you don't think it can happen to you it can and that is exactly what the inmate is looking for,” Birch said.

Investigators said Hernandez was the victim of an unprovoked attack and never saw it coming. Unfortunately, the sheriff’s office says these types of attacks happen more often than they’d like.

“This incident highlights the extreme danger the men and women working at the Hillsborough County Department of Detention Services face everyday,” a release from the sheriff’s office said.  “It also shows that because most inmates know that the deputies inside the pods are not adversaries and are treated fairly and with respect. Due to the overall professionalism and respect that detention deputies display towards the inmates on a daily basis, the inmates came to the deputy's aid preventing the deputy from being seriously injured.”

Hernandez received a twisted ankle, bruised knee, and abrasions to his neck as a result of the attack.

Zachary is now facing a new charge of aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer. He was being held in jail for an unrelated burglary charge.

Zachary was uninjured and transferred to an isolation cell.



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