Home > News > 

Florida Prison Guard Killed in Possible Escape Attempt

As you remember these fallen officers, take comfort in recalling that they dedicated their lives to the same principles of honor, duty and courage that brought you to the badge. Such a life is truly rich. Take strength in knowing that when an officer falls, our resolve to serve those in need is not diminished. Our dedication to protecting those in danger is not weakened. Our commitment to remembering those with whom we shared the badge does not fade.

Godspeed, brothers and sisters. You fought the good fight. Now rest in peace…

June 16, 2003

Print Register RSS What's This

Florida Prison Guard Killed in Possible Escape Attempt

Officer Down: Darla Lathrem - [Punta Gorda, Florida]

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. (AP) - A female prison guard was attacked and killed at the Charlotte Correctional Institution in what might have been part of an escape attempt, a state prison spokesman said Thursday.
Darla Lathrem, 38, died Wednesday night at the prison, said Department of Corrections spokesman Sterling Ivey.

Lathrem, who had worked at the prison since last June, was supervising five inmates on a construction detail inside the facility when she was assaulted, Ivey said. At the same time of the attack, three other inmates tried to escape.

"We don't know for sure whether the attack and the escape attempt were related," Ivey said.

Dozens of police officers responded to the prison after reports of the attack and attempted jailbreak at about 10 p.m. They set up checkpoints and searched cars on nearby U.S. 41 and Interstate 75. Canine units were on the scene, and a Charlotte County Sheriff's Department helicopter searched the area with a floodlight.

About an hour later, after conducting a head count, corrections officers reported that all prisoners were accounted for and called off the search.

The facility remains in lockdown, Ivey said, and all prisoners are confined to their cells.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating Lathrem's death, the first guard fatality at the facility. The Department of Corrections is doing a parallel investigation into the prison's policies and procedures, Ivey said.

The Charlotte Correctional Institution houses more than 1,000 prisoners, and has more than 400 people on staff.


Information from: Charlotte Sun Herald, http://www.sun-herald.com

Has an officer fallen in your department or local area? Submit news articles and information on the incident to the PoliceOne site.

The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of PoliceOne or its staff.

Denotes officer was a registered member of the PoliceOne Community

PoliceOne Offers

Back to Officer Down Section


Support the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and help honor America’s law enforcement officers – especially our fallen heroes



Concerns of Police Survivors

COPS (Concerns of Police Survivors) provides resources to assist in the rebuilding of the lives of survivors of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.

TASER Foundation

The TASER Foundation’s mission is to honor the service and sacrifice of local and federal law enforcement officers lost in the line of duty by providing financial and edcuational support to their families.

More Officer Downs

All Officer Downs Submit an Officer Down

Tribute Videos

We ride for those who died Tribute for fallen officers Never alone, never forgotten Police Week Tribute