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County: Corrections Officer and Inmate Fell into Elevator Shaft

WILKES-BARRE — County officials are remembering the corrections officer killed in a fight with an inmate Monday night at the Luzerne County Prison. Both t...

WILKES-BARRE -- County officials are remembering the corrections officer killed in a fight with an inmate Monday night at the Luzerne County Prison.

Both the officer and the inmate are dead and county officials are pledging to make sure nothing like this ever happens again.

"This is a tragic day in Luzerne County, our flag flies at half staff, we will not forget it. We will learn from its lessons, we will understand what happened and we will get better," said Luzerne County manager David Pedri.

Pedri released new information at a news conference Tuesday afternoon about how that corrections officer and the inmate died.

County officials say it all happened in a few seconds. Corrections Officer Kristopher Moules, 25, and inmate Timothy Gilliam got into an altercation on the fifth floor of the Luzerne County correctional facility. The two slammed into a closed elevator door. It opened and they fell to their deaths.

Pedri pledged that the county will get a new jail and promised Officer Kris Moules will always be remembered.

The mood has been somber Tuesday at the Luzerne County Prison. Many corrections officers are still in shock over how one of their own died, as well as an inmate.

"My phone has been ringing off the hook with corrections officers giving their full support to county administration today [Tuesday] telling us that we can do this together, we can do better and we will do better," added Pedri.

"It's a sad and tragic matter, a freak accident, that we will learn from, that we will understand and a matter that we will understand and a matter that will help us get better," said Pedri.

Pedri said that Timothy Gilliam is the inmate who got into a fight with a Corrections Officer Kris Moules. That fight happened Monday shortly before 6 p m.

The elevator door is blocked off with wood, and police are investigating why those elevators doors suddenly opened.

"Something happened with that elevator. We will find out what it is. We have retained one of the best experts in the state of Pennsylvania to review this matter. Once we have those results, we will report it," Pedri promised.

County officials, state police, and a special engineering firm are investigating what went wrong. They are calling it a freak accident.
The elevator, they say, had a valid license, passed a load test this year and passed inspection.

Pedri says, "Something happened to that door when those two men smashed into it and we will find out what happened."

Officials did not say what started the fight in the first place. Security cameras inside the jail captured part of the incident and police are new reviewing that video.

The jail remains in lockdown, inmates in their cells 23 hours a day, and that elevator blocked off. Kristopher Moules began his job at the jail in September.

Officer Moules was fondly remembered at Wyoming Valley West, his old high school, on Tuesday.

He was a star athlete at the high school and later at Lackawanna College.

Moules coaches at Lackawanna College and those there also shared memories of Officer Moules.