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Funeral Plans Announced for Slain Correctional Officer

9:55 AM, Mar 21, 2012   |    comments
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COLUMBIA COUNTY, Fla. -- The Department of Corrections has announced funeral arrangements for slain correctional officer Sgt. Ruben Thomas.

Sgt. Thomas's viewing will be held Thursday, March 22, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Dees-Parrish Funeral Home.  The funeral home is located at 458 South Marion Ave in Lake City.

Funeral services will be held Friday, March 23rd, at 11 a.m. at Christ Central Church located at 217 SW Dyal Avenue in Lake City.

Burial will take place after funeral services at Oak Grove Cemetery located 4/5 of a mile North of Milton's Country Store.

Ann Howard, with the Department of Corrections, tells First Coast News that Sgt. Ruben Thomas, 24, was stabbed to death on Sunday at the Columbia Correctional Institution Annex in Lake City.

Officials say, Richard Franklin stabbed and killed Thomas. Franklin was in prison stemming from a murder conviction in 1995.

We are told another correctional officer, William Brewer, was injured. Brewer was taken to the hospital and later released.

According to the Department of Corrections, Sgt. Thomas has been on staff at the correctional facility for six years.

The family of Thomas has asked for privacy, declining to comment.  Phillip Metts, a neighbor and former corrections officer said it's "very dangerous, you never known when somebody is going to stab you in the back or knock you in the back of the head.

Betty Fetters knew Thomas, who was a regular at the Blue Roof Grill, just a few miles from the prison. "He was a great guy, just an everyday great guy, honest and fun loving," said Fetters who said Thomas stopped several times a week to pick up a sandwich for work.

Gov. Rick Scott expressed his condolences Monday,  "I am saddened to learn of the tragic death of Sgt. Ruben Thomas last night at the Columbia Correctional Institute annex.  My deepest condolences go to his family and fellow correctional officers in Columbia County and across Florida.  A second officer, William Brewer, was also assaulted during the attack, and I pray for his quick recovery."

The governor went onto say, "it is always troubling when members of our law enforcement community lose their lives in the line of duty.  These brave men and women dedicate themselves each day to ensure Florida is a safe place to live.  We all need to remember the sacrifices and heroic efforts of our officers."

State Attorney General Pam Bondi also offered condolences. "Law enforcement officers take serious risks for the safety of others, and I am grateful to our law enforcement community for their selfless dedication to protecting Floridians," said Bondi.

First Coast News

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