Prisoners start shouting wildly. Deputies arrive to find they’ve broken free—but not to escape

Inmates in Texas were worried when they broke free from the holding room, though they actually had a good reason for doing so. After the incident, however, their guard says they saved his life.

In June 2016, eight prisoners locked in a holding cell in the basement of the District Courts Building in Weatherford were listening to jokes from their Parker County jailer, Gary Grimm, when he suddenly slumped over unconscious.

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“He just fell over,” inmate Nick Kelton told WFAA. “Looked like an act. Could have died right there.”

The inmates assessed the situation and knew what was happening—Grimm was suffering a heart attack.

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There was no other officer nearby, and the only thing the inmates could do was shout for help.

They managed to break free from their holding room and got over to Grimm. Breaking out of the room was dangerous for them, which they were well aware of, but they were worried for Grimm.

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“We were worried they’re going to come with guns drawn on us,” Kelton said.

Seeing that Grimm had no pulse, the inmates screamed and banged on the doors. The commotion attracted the attention of the deputies upstairs in court, and they came running.

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“They thought it was a fight,” inmate Floyd Smith said. “They thought we were taking over.”

Sheriff’s Sgt. Ryan Speegle said he had no idea what to expect when he reached the room.

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“He had keys,” Speegle said. “Had a gun. It could have been an extremely bad situation.”

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Speegle couldn’t quite understand the situation while getting the inmates back into the room.

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The deputies started performing CPR on Grimm. When the paramedics arrived, they shocked Grimm with a defibrillator, who regained a pulse.

“He’s a good man,” Kelton said. “I watched him die twice. It never crossed my mind not to help whether he’s got a gun or a badge. If he falls down, I’m gonna help him.”

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“Seems natural to me,” Smith added.

Capt. Mark Arnett believed that the inmates saved Grimm’s life.

“He could have been there 15 minutes before any other staff walked in and found him,” Arnett said.

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Two years later, Grimm spoke to WFAA about the incident and said that he didn’t have much recollection of the incident, but thanked them for saving his life.

“Instead of overtaking me and taking my gun, and killing me or taking a hostage and escaping, they looked at me as a human being,” he said.

On how he feels about the inmates, Grimm said that “they’re still a human being. I don’t have to like what they did, but it’s not my position to be the judge and jury,” he added.

The 52-year-old didn’t have a chance to thank the inmates as they were transported elsewhere while he was recovering in the hospital.


Despite this, he becomes “emotional” whenever he recalls the incident.

“If they wished harm for me, all they had to do was sit there and do nothing,” he said.

As for the holding room that the inmates broke out of, authorities have since reinforced it.

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