Ceremony marks anniversary of Stillwater corrections officer's death

Updated: July 18, 2019 06:21 PM

Friends, family, and state officials gathered outside the Stillwater prison to remember corrections officer Joseph Gomm one year after he was killed. Gomm was the first Minnesota corrections officer to die in the line of duty after an inmate attacked him inside the prison's workshop.

But it wasn't just a memorial ceremony for an innocent life lost; it also was celebration of a person who still has a lasting impact on those he left behind.

"He is dearly, dearly missed by everybody," said Angela Wood, one of Gomm's sisters. "I'm very overwhelmed, trying to keep it together."

Gomm is someone who friends and family said was dedicated and authentic. Now, a bench and a badge serve as memorials to honor his service and sacrifice.

"He touched a lot of people's hearts, the people he didn't know, that never knew him. And his legacy will live on," said Audrey Cone, one of Gomm's sisters.

The new commissioner who came on board after Gomm's death will be adding more than 70 additional correctional officers following his death, which many have said could have been prevented. 

"We're working right now on doing an exploration of body cameras, which we believe is an important safety tool going forward," said Minnesota Department of Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell. 

"He wouldn't have wanted any of this, but he deserved every bit of it," said Cone.

"Joe will never, ever be forgotten," said Reverend Martin Shanahan.

Gomm was a 16-year veteran of the department when he was killed.

More from KSTP.com:

Joseph Gomm coverage

Renewed push to bring back 'safety valve' as prison violence escalates

Corrections officers: Understaffed prisons leading to more overtime

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