Philadelphia, PA – A 26-year-old man just released from prison was shot Feb. 9 in the prison parking lot when he tried to carjack a 66-year-old corrections officer.
Corrections Officer Maratea was just getting off work when he was attacked. He fought with Bennett and was able to pull out his gun and shoot Bennett in the chest, authorities said.
Bennett was transported to the hospital and was listed in critical condition. Correction Officer Maratea was also taken to the hospital and was listed in stable condition.
A union representative for correction officers said the problem was that the prison allows the prison staff to share the same parking areas as visitors.
Lorenzo North, president of Local 159, the chapter of AFSCME District Council 33, said the prison has known about that risk for a while.
“For at least two years, I’ve been asking for a separate parking lot,” North said, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. “The correctional officers have a job to do, but receive no help from the management to go home the way they came to work.”
“This is a wake-up call,” he said. “If Mr. Maratea wouldn’t have had a gun, what would’ve happened to him?”
Shawn Hawes, a spokeswoman for the Philadelphia Department of Prisons, said there are plans for a separate parking facility for prison staff only.
“It’s a part of capital projects that are under consideration right now,” Hawes said. “It’s something we’re working on and hopefully we’ll be able to accomplish.”
Bennett was in prison for violating probation for weapons offenses prior to his release, according to prison officials. Bennett has been incarcerated seven times since 2011.
Corrections Officer Maratea has been employed at the prison since 1991.