GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – A father, grandfather and Guilford County detention officer was hospitalized after he became the victim of what deputies call an unprovoked attack by an inmate on Thursday.
Officer Sheldon Kaminsky, a three-year veteran of Guilford County Sheriff’s Office was attacked according to sheriff’s deputies.
“He’s taken my husband’s life away, he’s ended his career,” said Candy Kaminsky, the wife of the 71-year-old officer. “He’s destroyed his life.”
Kaminsky told FOX8 her husband had nearly 40 years in law enforcement, including 22 years on the Los Angeles police force.
“I was prepared for that knock at the door for all the years he worked the streets of L.A., you always have to be prepared for that,” she said “I didn’t expect it here.”
Kaminsky said her husband has been unconscious, sedated and on a ventilator inside the Mose Cone Hospital Intensive Care Unit for five days now. She has been by his side since the attack.
“If he wakes up we know there will be issues,” she said. “He has some serious brain trauma, some bleeding, some bruising, some sheering that is very serious and they really don’t know if and when or how he will wake up.”
Around 10:30 p.m. on July 15th Kaminsky was assigned to an inmate housing pod in the Greensboro Detention Center. Deputies said there was a brief verbal exchange between Kaminsky and 21-year-old inmate Elijah J. Evans. Moments later deputies said Evans got behind the floor officer’s desk and hit the law enforcement veteran with his fists and knocked him unconscious causing him to fall to the floor.
“He was where he was supposed to be,” she said. “This guy was irritated and irate and didn’t like something that was said to him and I don’t care what was said to him, that does not give him the right to jump behind the desk and beat somebody up.”
Court documents reveal Evans was in the detention center for allegedly assaulting an officer and resisting arrest. He’s additionally charged with felony assault on an on-duty detention officer inflicting serious injury and felony assault with a deadly weapon with intent to inflict serious injury.
Under state law, hands and fists can be deemed deadly weapons when there is a significant difference in the physical stature between the two parties.
Kaminsky told FOX8 the warning signs were there, but it came too late.
“Most of them are violent and we can’t treat them with kid gloves,” she said. “They have to be treated the way they act. We have to protect our officers and our deputies, that’s what’s most important, not the ego of the inmate.”
She said more staffing and stricter rules in the detention center are needed to stop an attack like this from happening again.
“They are too often giving the inmate privileges or have to treat them with more respect and not treat them as if they’ve done something wrong,” she said.
Kaminsky was at Evans’ first court appearance on Monday. She shared the results of her husband’s MRI and how her family’s lives have changed forever. She said her two daughters and six-year-old grandaughter greatly miss the most important man in their life.
“It’s destroyed our family as we know it at home,” she said. “You know he’s not there.”
Sheriff’s deputies and detention officers were in attendance for support.
“All I could think was I’m not supposed to be this wife,” she said. “I’m not supposed to be the one who’s getting escorted around by the sheriff because my husband can’t get out of the bed.”
While Kaminsky waits by her husband’s bedside she holds onto a necklace of his badge and the last memory of him before the attack.
“As he got out of the car he said, okay, see you in the morning and I said, I’ll be here, and that was it and I won’t ever forget those words.”
Surgery to fix her husband’s facial fractures from the attack is scheduled for Wednesday.
Kaminsky said she has asked to see the surveillance video of the attack, but the sheriff’s office has not granted it. FOX8 requested a copy of the surveillance video and an interview with Sheriff Danny Rogers, but our request was denied.
However, the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office did provide FOX8 with the following statement:
“Sheriff Rogers believes strongly that his Detention Officers are equal partners with their sworn Deputy brothers and sisters. Our criminal justice system could not exist without Detention Officers who are tasked with the important duties of humanely providing the direct supervision and daily care needs of the inmates in their custody. Unfortunately, and as this incident makes clear, those duties can come with significant risks. Each and every day, the residents of Guilford County live, work, and sleep more safely because of Detention Officers like Officer Kaminsky, who willingly place their own personal safety below that of the public that they serve.”