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Burns & Gambo

Inmates who helped MCSO officer rewarded with pizza

Bobby Ruiz. (Photo: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)

PHOENIX -- A Maricopa County Sheriff's Office detention officer is recovering after being viciously attacked by an inmate Monday.

Detention Officer Rachel Harris was conducting routine cell searches when an inmate, 20-year-old Bobby Ruiz, allegedly jumped on her back and bit part of her right ear off.

"I told him to come out (of the holding cell) and as he came out, I walked in and next thing I know he bit my ear," said Harris.

"We don't know where part of the ear is," Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said. "We're trying to locate that part but there's a chance he may have swallowed part of the ear."

Other inmates helped to pull Ruiz off of the officer.

"Once I saw the fear in (Harris') eyes, it was like we have to stop this," said inmate Andrew Davis. "You could see blood real thick behind her ear and the guy (Ruiz) had blood around his mouth. And then he took a swing at me and we ended up fighting."

Davis said he doesn't consider his actions heroic. He said he jumped into action instinctively.

He is nursing an injury as a result of the fight. He and the other inmates were rewarded Tuesday for their actions: The sheriff let them eat pizza.

Harris appeared to take the assault in stride.

"I knew what I signed up for," she said.

Ruiz is in prison for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Arpaio said Ruiz has been arrested 10 times in the past two years.

Arpaio said Ruiz was immediately placed on lockdown and put on a diet of only bread and water.

The sheriff said Ruiz will face charges for the attack.

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