Flags fly at half-staff for slain guard

Wednesday, June 7th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

GRANITE, Okla. (AP) -- Joe Gamble was a man who would do anything for his friends if they were in trouble, his wife, Sherri, said.

So when he spotted a fellow correctional officer being stabbed by a prisoner at the Oklahoma State Reformatory early Monday, he jumped in to help, and lost his life.

The 28-year-old Gamble died shortly after 9 a.m. Tuesday after being stabbed several times in the neck by an inmate at the prison.

Gamble had rushed to help officer William Callaway, Mrs. Gamble said. The prisoner had stabbed Callaway 13 times and "was going to finish him off," she said.

"It cut through both the arteries in his brain. It just tore everything up in there," Mrs. Gamble said.

After the rescue, Gamble covered his fatal wounds and managed to run about 40 yards and seek medical attention, Mrs. Gamble said. He never regained consciousness after surgery, she said.

Callaway, 35, remained in stable condition at a Lawton hospital Tuesday.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of Officer Gamble and Officer Callaway," DOC Director James Saffle said. "The people of the state of Oklahoma are blessed by the quality, professionalism and courage of the nearly 2,200 correctional officers who work every day in the Department of Corrections facilities across the state."

Gov. Frank Keating signed an executive order to lower flags on state property from 3 p.m. Tuesday to 5 p.m. Friday.

Authorities identified the inmate as Dorhee McKissick. It took about four hours before the prison's emergency response team could capture McKissick, 24, who remained in the prison's day room after the incident, prison spokeswoman Teri Posvic said.

The team recovered two makeshift knives.

McKissick, serving a 10-year sentence for throwing bodily fluids at an Oklahoma County officer, was moved to the maximum-security Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester.

The Oklahoma State Reformatory houses about 850 minimum- to low-maximum security prisoners. The stabbing occurred in the medium-security area of the prison where more than half the inmates are housed.

Services are pending for Gamble, a former Air Force serviceman from Dallas, who had worked at the prison since 1997.

He is survived by his wife, Sherri, and three sons. The couple was in the process of adopting another son, Mrs. Gamble said.

"I don't think I'm angry," she said. "I miss my best friend. I miss my husband. My kids miss their daddy."