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Smith State Prison Employee Fatally Shot by Inmate in Kitchen

Smith State Prison shooting victim Aureon Shavea Grace

An inmate responsible for a Smith State Prison shooting, shot and killed a food service employee before turning the gun on himself. This tragic incident marks the second fatal attack on staff within a year at the prison.


GLENVILLE, GA (5-minute read) — A tragic incident at Smith State Prison has resulted in the deaths of an inmate and a food service employee early Sunday morning.

Around 4:30 a.m., inmate Jaydrekus Hart, who was assigned to kitchen duties, shot and killed 24-year-old Aureon Shavea Grace, a food service worker employed by Aramark and hailing from Statesboro. After committing the murder, Hart turned the firearm on himself. He was later declared dead at a nearby hospital.

Hart was serving a 20-year sentence for voluntary manslaughter from Carroll County, with his maximum release date set for June 2043. The Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) has taken possession of the firearm and is conducting a thorough investigation to determine the circumstances that led to this devastating event.

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Aureon Grace had been working at the prison since January. Aramark, a Philadelphia-based company, supplies food services to Smith State Prison and other facilities across the U.S. In response to the tragedy, Aramark spokesperson Debbie Albert conveyed profound sorrow, stating, “We are heartbroken over the loss of our colleague, and our hearts and prayers go out to her family. This is a tragedy for all of us.”

GDC spokesperson Lori Benoit emphasized that the shooting appeared to be an isolated event. Additionally, Benoit noted that Hart left behind a suicide note, shedding some light on his state of mind prior to the incident.

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Smith State Prison Shooting Not The First Fatality

This Smith State Prison shooting is the second fatal attack on staff members at Smith State Prison within the past year. Last October, correctional officer Robert Clark, 42, was fatally attacked by an inmate with a homemade weapon.

Smith State Prison, which can house up to 1,500 inmates, is designated as a close-security facility, primarily for offenders who are considered violent or pose an escape risk. The recent violence underscores the importance of robust safety protocols and the need for constant vigilance in correctional facilities to protect both staff and inmates.

Safety Tip: Ensure that all firearms are securely stored and inaccessible to unauthorized individuals to prevent tragic incidents.

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