Funeral services set for prison guard killed by Stillwater inmate

Governor orders flags at half-staff to honor Joseph Gromm

Edgar Linares
July 20, 2018 - 8:34 pm
Stillwater prison guard killed by inmate

Minnesota Department of Corrections

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Funeral services are Thursday for Minnesota corrections officer Joseph Gromm, who was killed July 18 by a prison inmate while on duty at the Stillwater prison.

The service tales place at North Heights Lutheran Church in Arden Hills.

Governor Dayton has ordered flags at state and federal buildings to be flown at half-staff Thursday to honor the 16-year corrections department veteran.

Gromm's family issued a statement on Friday evening through the Minnesota Department Of Corrections.

“The family of Joseph Gomm would like to express how devastated and deeply saddened we are by the senseless and tragic loss of our son, brother, brother-in-law, cousin and uncle who gave the ultimate sacrifice while in the line of duty.   

We wish to thank everyone for the overwhelming love, kindness and support during this incredibly difficult time.  We would like to acknowledge the gracious outreach and support from Joe’s Corrections family, especially his colleagues at the Minnesota Correctional Facility Stillwater. In addition, we are humbled by the offers to support our family and assist in planning Joe’s celebration of life by the Minnesota law enforcement community as well as the corrections and law enforcement community nation-wide.

Special thanks to all those corrections family who have spent countless hours keeping vigil with Joe while we prepare to celebrate his life.

Our pain is indescribable, but we take comfort in knowing how many people loved Joe as much as we did and how many of his friends and colleagues share our devastation and grief.

As we prepare to lay Joe to rest, we ask for privacy for our family.”

Officer Gomm was killed July 18 at the Stillwater Prison during an afternoon shift. He was working in an industrial part of the prison grounds where inmates have access to tools.

The suspected of the killing, Edward Muhammad Johnson, 42, who was serving a 29 year sentence for homicide. Johnson was scheduled to be released in 2022. He could be facing first-degree murder charges. On Thursday, Johnson was moved to the Oak Park Heights prison that’s more secure.

Three correctional officers have resigned from their jobs at Minnesota state facilities following Officer Gromm's death.  Officials aren't saying why the officers left their jobs at Stillwater and Oak Park Heights, but Joe Miller told WCCO television that this week's incident gave him no choice. 

"I firmly believe, this administration, and prison, and central office and their policies led to staff being killed," he said. "I believe that with my whole heart."

Miller says he was trained by Gromm.