MICHIGAN CITY — A 57-year-year-old lieutenant at Indiana State Prison was fatally stabbed by an inmate after coming to the aid of another corrections officer, the Indiana Department of Correction said.
Lt. Eugene Lasco, of LaPorte, began his career with the maximum security prison in Michigan City on Oct. 19, 2009, and was a locksmith and former member of the emergency squad.
Lasco served on the Technical Response Team for Safety Hazmat and received multiple accolades for his service, the department said.
"Lt. Eugene Lasco paid the ultimate sacrifice, and we are forever indebted to his service to the State of Indiana," said Indiana Department of Correction Commissioner Robert Carter. "Lt. Lasco was well-known amongst his colleagues as a true team member, someone they could count on, and he proved that again on Sunday, when he rushed in to help a fellow correctional officer. His sacrifice will not be forgotten."
Lasco and Sgt. Padrick Schmitt were in a common area about 2:30 p.m. Sunday when inmate Tymetri Campbell, 38, attacked Schmitt and stabbed him multiple times, the department said.
Lasco went to help Schmitt, and Campbell stabbed Lasco.
Lasco and Schmitt both were taken to Franciscan Health hospital in Michigan City, where Lasco was pronounced dead, officials said. Lasco's death was ruled a homicide, LaPorte County Coroner Lynn Swanson said.
Schmitt was transferred to Memorial Hospital in South Bend, where he was in stable condition Monday.
Schmitt, 22, of Lake Station, began his career at Indiana State Prison on Dec. 5, 2016. He was promoted to the rank of correctional sergeant Feb. 7, IDOC said.
Carter ordered flags to be flown at half-staff at all Department of Correction facilities in Lasco's honor.
The Indiana House started its session Monday in Indianapolis with a moment of silence for Lasco.
Per protocol, Gov. Eric Holcomb will direct flags to be flown at half staff in LaPorte County on the day of Lasco's services, officials said.
Campbell was being held on preliminary charges, including murder, Indiana State Police said.
Lasco's autopsy was scheduled for Monday, Swanson said. After the autopsy is complete, Indiana State Police plan to present their investigation to the LaPorte County prosecutor's office for possible charges, the Department of Correction said.
Campbell was sentenced in January 2004 to 130 years in prison for three murders in Marion County, according to Indiana Department of Correction and Indiana Court of Appeals records.
The Court of Appeals in 2007 upheld Campbell's sentence, despite his argument a lower court didn't take his remorse for the killings into consideration.
Indiana State Prison is the state's oldest correctional facility. Its maximum security section houses inmates with longer sentences and those convicted of violent crimes.
Lasco's homicide marks the fourth fatal stabbing at the facility since 2017, according to information obtained by The Times.
Inmate Daniel L. Heflin, 30, who was originally from Goshen, died Jan. 21 from a stab wound to the right side of his head, Swanson said.
Indiana State Police were investigating Heflin's homicide. Heflin was serving a sentence for murder in Elkhart County at the time of his death.
Inmate Gerald A. Wharry Jr., 23, died in a stabbing Sept. 19, 2019, at the prison, records show.
Wharry's fellow inmate, Michael A. Ayers, 27, who was serving sentences for attempted murder and robbery, was charged in January 2020 with one count of murder in Wharry's homicide. Ayers is currently scheduled to stand trial in January 2022.
Inmate Willie L. Steele, 49, died from a stab wound July 26, 2017, at the prison, records show.
Steele was serving a sentence for the murders of Lillie Miller, 79, and her daughter Doressa Miller, 52 — the grandmother and aunt of a Gary police officer — on Oct. 30, 2009. The women had been bound, scalded with hot water and strangled.
Steele killed the women about six weeks after completing a previous sentence for the rape and murder of Crown Point schoolteacher Vivian Jurincic, 63, in the early 1980s.
Inmate Francisco Amaro, 36, was charged with Steele's murder.
Amaro, who was serving a sentence for murder and domestic battery in Grant County, was found guilty of murdering Steele by a LaPorte Superior Court jury in January 2020. He was sentenced in October to 45 years in prison.
In this Series
- 30 updates