A Houston mom has been left heartbroken after her special needs son was allegedly killed by another inmate at the Harris County Jail.
Here’s more from KHOU:
Nineteen-year-old Fred Harris died at a Houston hospital after the attack, according to Randall Kallinen, the family’s attorney. He said Fred, who weighed 98 pounds, was stabbed, kicked in the head and beaten by a 240-pound inmate on Oct. 29. Kallinen said 25-year-old Michael Paul Ownby also bashed the victim’s head against the concrete floor.
Ownby, who has a criminal history that includes violence against a family member, reportedly assaulted a guard at the jail the day before Fred’s death.
Ownby has been charged with aggravated assault with severe bodily injury after the incident.
Per the report, Fred was in jail because he showed a knife to someone he was afraid of.
“If you guys met him, you would love him. Anybody that met would absolutely love him,” mom Dallas Harris said at a news conference Wednesday. “And when I say he’d dance his way to everyone’s heart. He was one of the most kind kids you’d ever meet.”
When Harris learned her son had been arrested, she rushed to the jail to plead that he kept away from the other inmates
“I said, ‘This is not a place for him. He’ll never understand.’ I spoke with the deputy, we called the medical staff and I didn’t leave until I got some answers,” Harris said. “And when I left, they said that my son would be OK and that they would handle this. So we’re here, now a couple of days later, and this wasn’t handled.”
Kallinen is representing deputies and jailers in a federal lawsuit against Harris County, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez and County Judge Lina Hidalgo. The basis of the suit appears to be related to overcrowding and staffing issues at the jail.
“We need more guards, we need more staff so that fights can be stopped, fights can be prevented, people can be separated,” said Kallinen.
Gonzalez issued this statement about Fred’s attack: “Mr. Harris’ death is a tragedy and adds to the increasing number of lives taken violently in every corner of our society this year. We are determined to ensure that his killer faces justice, and we extend our condolences to Mr. Harris’ family.”
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