John Wetzel, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, sadly reports the death of Sergeant Mark Baserman.

Sgt. Baserman, 61, died as a result of massive head trauma when an inmate attacked him earlier this month. The unprovoked attack apparently stemmed from the confiscation of a towel that obscured the inmate’s bunk from view of corrections officers.

The assault, which was captured on video, shows Baserman sitting at a corrections officer’s desk in the day room of the housing facility. The inmate approached Baserman and punched him several times knocking him to the floor. The inmate then commenced kicking and stomping on his head while he was unconscious.

Other corrections officers immediately came to Baserman’s aid and they also were attacked in a similar manner until several officers were able to subdue the inmate.

Baserman was transported to a Conemaugh Hospital in Johnstown where he remained unconscious and in a coma until his condition deteriorated and he succumbed to his injuries.

“The minute we learned of this unprovoked, brutal attack on Sgt. Baserman and another officer who came to his aid our hearts sank,” Wetzel said in a statement. “We are greatly saddened by Sgt. Baserman’s death and our thoughts are with his family at this time.”

The inmate accused of Baserman’s death was already serving a life sentence for first-degree murder. Paul Kendrick, 22, has been charged in the murder of the corrections officer, reported Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

“Frances and I share our deepest condolences with Sgt. Baserman’s family, friends and co-workers, especially the officer who came to his aid and who also was attacked,” Gov. Tom Wolf said in a statement. “DOC, specifically to SCI Somerset, will have all the resources it needs during this difficult time.

“I also ask all Pennsylvanians to stand behind DOC employees now and always, as these law enforcement officers’ jobs are vital to protecting public safety.”

Mark Baserman served the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections for 11 years. He began his employment with the DOC in 2007 at the Cresson Facility, which is now closed. As a result, he was transferred to the Somerset Facility in 2012. He was promoted to the rank of sergeant in 2016. Baserman is the first state corrections officer to be killed in the line of duty in 40 years.

Sergeant Mark Baserman is gone, but will never be forgotten. EOW: Monday, February 26, 2018.

Mark Baserman

(Graphics courtesy Rose Borisow GrafX)