Family's 'indescribable' pain over death of prison officer Joseph Gomm

Several correctional officers have resigned in the wake of his killing.
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The family of Joseph Gomm have expressed their devastation at his death at the hands of an inmate at Stillwater prison.

In a statement issued late Friday via the Department of Corrections, Gomm's family has thanked everyone for the "overwhelming love, kindness and support during this incredibly difficult time."

"Our pain is indescribable, but we take comfort in knowing how many people loved Joe as much as we did and how many of his friends and colleagues share our devastation and grief."

The 45-year-old from Blaine died after being attacked by an inmate on Wednesday, with the chief suspect Edward Johnson, 42, who was serving a 29-year sentence for homicide and had a series of disciplinary problems while in prison.

The family also pays tribute to Gomm's co-workers and wider corrections family, several of whom have resigned since his death.

Corrections officials confirmed to the Star Tribune that three officers have left their roles at Stillwater and nearby Oak Park Heights facilities, which follows other media reports about those working at the prisons who have been increasingly fearing for their safety.

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The Wednesday attack follows a spate of assaults on prison officers at MCF-Stillwater and MCF-Oak Park Heights this year, which has resulted in injuries to more than a dozen guards.

Here's the full statement from the Gomm family.

“The family of Joseph Gomm would like to express how devastated and deeply saddened we are by the senseless and tragic loss of our son, brother, brother-in-law, cousin and uncle who gave the ultimate sacrifice while in the line of duty. We wish to thank everyone for the overwhelming love, kindness and support during this incredibly difficult time. We would like to acknowledge the gracious outreach and support from Joe’s Corrections family, especially his colleagues at the Minnesota Correctional Facility Stillwater. In addition, we are humbled by the offers to support our family and assist in planning Joe’s celebration of life by the Minnesota law enforcement community as well as the corrections and law enforcement community nation-wide.

"Special thanks to all those corrections family who have spent countless hours keeping vigil with Joe while we prepare to celebrate his life.Our pain is indescribable, but we take comfort in knowing how many people loved Joe as much as we did and how many of his friends and colleagues share our devastation and grief. As we prepare to lay Joe to rest, we ask for privacy for our family."

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