Wayne County Corporal Bryant Searcy, an 18-year veteran, was a "consummate professional," Sheriff Benny Napoleon said in a press conference Thursday.
Searcy was attacked by an inmate at Jail Division 2 in downtown Detroit around 10 p.m. Wednesday night. Searcy was gravely injured and treated on scene. He was then transported to Detroit Receiving Hospital, where he later died from his injuries.
Sheriff Napoleon said Searcy was "viciously assaulted" while he was in the process of locking down inmates.
He is survived by his wife and his 21-year-old daughter.
"When you lose an officer in the line of duty, it tugs at you," Wayne County Executive Warren Evans said. "Hits you hard.
Sheriff Napoleon said some of the most dangerous criminals in America are housed in the Wayne County Jail. Officers understand the environment they're working in, he said, yet, they go to work every day.
"Very tough job under very tough circumstances," he said.
Sheriff Napoleon said there was an outpouring of support for Searcy's family. He was very well loved by his coworkers and respected by his supervisors.
"Big, big loss to this agency," Sheriff Napoleon said. "He was a consummate professional, very much a person who recognized that he was in charge of the care of inmates, but very professional in his interactions with them."
Sheriff Napoleon said the inmate is 28 years old, and this is not his first time being involved in a serious crime. He was moved to the Detroit Detention Facility for processing.
There are two investigations connected to the incident; the Detroit Police Department is conducting a criminal investigation, while the Wayne County Sheriff's Office is conducting an internal policy investigation.