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Corrections officer assaulted by inmate on Feb. 15 has died, DOC secretary says

Credit: PA Department of Corrections

SOMERSET COUNTY — A corrections officer who was attacked by an inmate in mid February at State Correctional Institution (SCI) at Somerset has died, according to a statement released by Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel.

Sergeant Mark Baserman was assaulted by an inmate while at the officers’ desk in a housing unit day room around 7 p.m. on February 15, the statement reads. The inmate punched Sgt. Baserman and then continued to beat him while on the ground. A second officer responded to assist Sgt. Baserman but was also attacked. Additional staff responded and the inmate was restrained as other staff provided medical care to the two injured officers, the statement adds.

“On behalf of the entire Department of Corrections, it is with deepest sympathy that I report the death of Sgt. Mark J. Baserman on February 26,” Secretary Wetzel said. “The minute we learned of this unprovoked, brutal attack on Sgt. Baserman and another officer who came to his aid our hearts sank. We are greatly saddened by Sgt. Baserman’s death and our thoughts are with his family at this time.”

Both officers were taken to a local hospital for treatment. Sgt. Baserman remained hospitalized at Johnstown’s Conemaugh Hospital in serious condition until his death, the statement says. The other officer was treated and released.

Pennsylvania State Police have charged 22-year-old Paul Kendrick, of Pittsburgh, in connection with the attacks. Kendrick, who is serving a life sentence for first-degree murder, was immediately transferred to another state prison following the incident.

Sgt. Baserman began his employment with the Department of Corrections in 2007 and had been employed at SCI-Somerset since 2012, the statement notes. He was promoted to sergeant in 2016.

“Frances and I share our deepest condolences with Sgt. Baserman’s family, friends and co-workers, especially the officer who came to his aid and who also was attacked,” said Gov. Tom Wolf. “DOC, specifically to SCI Somerset, will have all the resources its needs during this difficult time. I also ask all Pennsylvanians to stand behind DOC employees now and always, as these law enforcement officers’ jobs are vital to protecting public safety.”