Friend of slain corrections officer asks what more could have been done

Dave Campbell is still processing the loss of his buddy and fellow corrections officer Joseph Gomm.

“He was a great officer. Had your back and all that stuff. I know he had really good friends in there,” Campbell said. “He’s gonna be sorely missed inside that facility.”

Cambell spent 11 years inside the Stillwater prison, leaving his post in the industrial complex last summer. It’s the same assignment Gomm had Wednesday when he was viciously attacked by a convicted murderer, who apparently weaponized at least one tool found in the portion of the facility where inmates work in the trades.

Campbell is adamant that more security, like a partner for Gomm, might have prevented the tragic slaying.

“I don’t know if something like this could always be avoided just because there’s inherent risk at that facility, but I think they could’ve done better for Joe Gomm, could’ve made sure he was better protected,” Campbell added.

He also questioned why inmate Edward Muhammad Johnson had workshop privileges.

This week, the Department of Corrections reported that Johnson had spent some 1,700 days, nearly five years, in segregation for prison misbehavior.

He was previously convicted of assaulting a Hennepin County Jail Security Officer and lost his right eye in a violent altercation with a fellow inmate in 2004.

“It happens every day,” Campbell said. “And he’s not the only inmate that has violent offenses and spent a lot of time in [segregation] and given these tools to do that.”

Campbell expressed his shock at the infrequency of offenses of the kind.

“You think it never happens until it’s too late and it happens,” he said.