Delaware correctional officer at Vaughn Correctional Center dies after overnight shift


Ira Porter

A correctional officer who had been on the job about a year and half died suddenly Monday after working an overnight shift for the Delaware Department of Correction.

Lamar Robinson-King was an officer at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna. The state Department of Correction said his death was unrelated to COVID-19 but did not release further details.

His body will be turned over to the Delaware Division of Forensic Science to determine the cause of death. 

Robinson-King, who was stationed at Vaughn, had just finished an overnight shift Monday when he "experienced sudden life-threatening medical symptoms," according to the DOC.

Emergency responders took him to a local hospital and tried to save his life en route, but he did not survive, officials said

"We are heartbroken by the passing of Correctional Officer Lamar Robinson-King, a hard working and highly respected member of the Department of Correction family," said Commissioner Claire DeMatteis said via statement. "Please keep his family and co-workers in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time for his loved ones and his DOC family.”

The news of Robinson-King's death comes alongside numerous inmates and employees at state prison facilities fall ill from the coronavirus pandemic.

The DOC has taken precautions to try to keep correctional officers and inmates safe during the spread of coronavirus. Officers started wearing face masks on April 10, and face masks have been provided for more than 500 inmates stationed in infirmaries, those who work specific jobs such as food service, and those with underlying health issues, according to prison officials

At Vaughn, 12 full time correctional officers have tested positive for coronavirus, as well as one contracted employee, according to prison officials.

As of Monday, the total number of correctional staff for the Department of Correction who had tested positive for coronavirus was 20 full time and 3 contracted employees.

An additional 21 inmates have tested positive – 15 of whom are at Vaughn, according to the DOC.

Prison officials did not disclose if Robinson-King, who worked for the state prison system for 17 months, worked around any infected inmates.

DeMatteis ordered flags to be flown at half-staff across all DOC facilities until further notice.

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