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Oak Park Heights corrections officer dies from medical emergency after responding to assault by prisoner

His cause of death is unknown and the prison is on lockdown.

A four-year veteran of the Oak Park Heights corrections staff died Monday after responding to an assault of another officer inside the prison. 

According to the maximum security prison's communications director, Sarah Fitzgerald, officer Joseph Parise, 37, suffered a medical emergency while on duty. 

Parise suffered the medical emergency after returning to his post after responding to an assault at the prison in which an inmate attacked another officer. Parise was transported to Regions Hospital but did not survive. It's unclear what the medical emergency was. 

"We offer our heartfelt condolences to Officer Parise’s family, friends, and all of his fellow officers," Fitzgerald said in in a statement. 

"This is a very difficult day for our Oak Park Heights officers and employees, and our entire department. We are deeply saddened by today’s events. Support services will be available for Oak Park Heights employees, and all corrections officers and staff." 

Two other officers were injured in the inmate assault. They were evaluated and released. 

The prison is on lockdown and an investigation into the assault and Parise's cause of death is ongoing. 

Several attacks reported in Stillwater, Oak Park Heights

Monday's assault comes less than two months removed from the deadly attack on Stillwater corrections officer Joseph Gomm, who was reportedly hit in the head with a tool by an inmate already serving a life sentence. 

Washington County attorney Pete Orput held a press conference following Gomm's murder saying his office handles approximately 30 cases a year concerning attacks by inmates on officers at Stillwater and Oak Park Heights, which range from physical assaults to inmates throwing feces and urine at guards.

In June, Oak Park Heights prison was put on lockdown after an inmate seriously injured a corrections guard.

And in late March, 11 prison officers were injured in three separate attacks at Stillwater and Oak Park Heights.

A lieutenant sustained non-life-threatening injuries in the attack at Stillwater prison, while 10 officers were injured in two separate brawls on Mar. 23 and 25.

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