A Correctional Officer shot a man who police say tried to carjack him less than an hour after being released from a Philadelphia jail.
Jamal Bennett, 26, was discharged from the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility on the 8000 block of State Road around 10:30 p.m. Friday. About 45 minutes later, Bennett allegedly approached 66-year-old Michael Maratea, a veteran correctional officer who was just getting off duty, in the facility’s parking lot. Maratea told Bennett to stop several times but he kept approaching his car, officials said. The two men then fought, according to investigators.
During the struggle, Maratea managed to get inside his car and grab his service weapon, officials said. Bennett allegedly tried to grab Maratea’s gun. Maratea then fired the weapon and shot Bennett once in the chest, according to investigators. Maratea then called 911.
Bennett was taken to Aria-Torresdale Hospital where he is in critical condition. Maratea was also taken to Aria-Torresdale and treated for both head and neck pain. He was later released. Officials say Maratea offered to go back to work but doctors told him to rest at home.
Maratea has been a correctional officer for 27 years and is licensed to carry a weapon, according to officials.
Officials say Bennett had been in custody seven times since 2011. Before Friday night’s incident, Bennett had been in custody for two weeks on probation and gun violations but was released on a court order.
"It seems like he was starting his life of crime over again within minutes of being released," said Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small.
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Members of AFSCME District Council 33, a union for correctional officers, told NBC10 they’re upset that the incident occurred on the jail’s own grounds and are calling for changes to parking security.
“These inmates, they don’t like corrections officers inside the walls and they don’t like them outside the walls,” said Lorenzo North of AFSCME District Council 33.
Philadelphia Prisons Commissioner Blanche Carney said she’s making employee safety a top priority and is implementing more patrols.
“I’m responsible for them and when we see a situation that presents itself and we’re able to correct it and address it, we do,” she said.
The Curran-Freehold Correctional Facility recently upgraded the lighting in the lot but there are no surveillance cameras in the area where the incident occurred.