Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Inmate Bites Off Guard’s Ear During Cell Search

Bobby Ruiz

In an attack that is all too grim a reminder of the dangers associated with working as a prison guard, Bobby Ruiz, an inmate in the Maricopa County’s Lower Buckeye Jail, bit  a female guard’s ear clean off in an attack last week.

Detention officer Rachel Harris, 22, was conducting a routine cell check on June 24, 2013, when inmate Bobby Ruiz allegedly jumped on her back and attacked her, “The next thing I knew he jumped on my back and pushed me to the ground and bit my ear,” said Harris.

Harris, whose father is also a detention officer, says she was taught to treat inmates with respect. That may be why the other inmates quickly rushed to her aid.

Surveillance cameras reportedly captured the fight, and how the other inmates helped Harris. Ricky Shillingford and Andrew Davis where the first to jump in. Shillingford told, “He [Ruiz] had her in a chokehold; I saw the blood was coming from her ears.” Davis said, “I seen her on the floor, crunched over hunched over. I snatched him off of her; he took a swing at me and went back toward her. Davis added, “Right is right and wrong is wrong, we make mistakes to get in here, but hey if you can correct your mistakes why not.”

Harris, whose ear was reportedly bitten “completely off,” according to the report, felt Ruiz being pulled off her and said, “I knew they were over there helping me.” She will be on medical leave for the next two to four weeks. Doctors performed surgery on her ear, though how successful they were in repairing the damage is not yet known

Ruiz, who was already in jail for assault with a deadly weapon, now facesthe additional charge of aggravated assault on an officer. He is reportedly on lockdown, and is on “bread and water,” most likely being fed the dreaded, but very nutritionally sound, Prison Loaf so often given to violent inmates.

The Sherriff rewarded the other inmates with a pizza party as a thank you for their help.

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