Lovelady prison guard seriously injured by inmate

Colby Mask mug shot courtesy of TDCJ.
Colby Mask mug shot courtesy of TDCJ.

LOVELADY, TX (KTRE) - By Jena Johnson - email

LOVELADY, TX (KTRE) - A state prison guard is being treated for serious facial injuries following an attack Friday afternoon at Eastham State Prison near Lovelady.

According to Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark, an inmate from Angelina County, Colby Mask, 29, attacked Corrections Officer Ken Clegg, 30, of Lufkin with a homemade knife while inmates were walking to their housing units around 4:35 p.m. Friday.

"Officer Clegg was standing near the gate line door when Mask attacked him," Clark said.

Clark said a second officer witnessed the assault and administered chemical agents toward a group of inmates surrounding Clegg.

According to Clark, Clegg suffered serious injuries to his face. He was rushed to a local hospital, then transferred to Hermann Memorial Hospital in Houston Friday night. Over the weekend, Clark said Clegg underwent a surgery.

During an investigation, Mask came forward and admitted assaulting Clegg, Clark said. A 2.5-inch weapon fashioned from three razor blades attached to a pen casing was found on the floor where the assault occurred, Clark said.

Corrections officers say some inmates make it a very dangerous job.

"It's very scary and to think that this man was here, that is very scary," Angelina County jailer Kelly Whitehead said. "County or state pen, it's dangerous."

Mask's older brother, James, is locked up in the county jail right now.

"It's sad because that's my brother and I love him still," James Mask said.

James Mask said it's common for inmates to make homemade weapons. He says his brother must have been provoked in order to use it.

"The only reason why I would understand if he had one in the first place was protection," James Mask said. "In TDCJ, it's different from in here in the county or what not."

Jailers say they confiscate shanks every day.

"They'll take the blades out and they'll just fashion it and this one's pretty simple," Whitehead said. "He just took the end off the pen and stuck the blade down in it."

James Mask fears this incident could stack more years onto his brother's current sentence. He says no matter what, he supports his younger brother.

"I love him," James Mask said. "Keep his head up. There's a reason for everything. I know there's a reason behind this and I got his back 100 percent, whatever happened."

According to Clark, Clegg is still in the hospital.

Clegg began his employment on April 22, following a training period.

Clark said Mask is currently housed in solitary confinement in a pre-hearing detention unit.

Mask is serving a 30-year sentence for two counts of aggravated assault in Angelina County. He was transferred to the prison on Jan. 12.

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