Video: Arizona Prison Inmate Takes Librarian Hostage, Holds Shank To Neck

The Arizona Department of Corrections has released dramatic video footage showing an inmate taking a library worker hostage and threatening him with a blade. The incident occurred at around 8:15 a.m on December 26 last year in a maximum security unit of a facility in Buckeye, officials said.

The clips—taken on CCTV and cell phones from multiple angles—show the moment inmate Timothy Monk takes librarian Allen Hartzell hostage. "F*** with me and I will show you how bad I am," Monk is heard shouting in the video.

"Why do I gotta' do this?" he says as prison staff attempt to talk him down. One employee can be heard responding to the inmate: "You shouldn't, it should have never come to this." Officials described the weapon he was holding as a "prison-made blade." His motivation, the Arizona Department of Corrections said, was an "apparent demand to leave the complex."

Yesterday, local authorities presented Hartzell with a medal of valor for remaining calm during the unexpected altercation, which lasted roughly two and a half hours.

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On the day, a Tactical Support Unit (TSU) was deployed to the scene and took charge. The footage shows Monk backed up into a storage closet, with the hostage sitting in front of him. As the situation unfolded, the inmate appeared to be becoming anxious.

As the TSU burst through the door, with weapons drawn, Monk grabbed the jail librarian by the neck and yelled, "stop" and "get back." The officers said they used a "flashbang" device as a diversionary tactic. The inmate was subdued and Hartzell recovered without physical injury. The altercation came to an end shortly after 10:30 a.m., officials said.

Releasing the footage, Arizona Corrections said the incident was an "example of the ever-present risks faced by correctional employees, and why the courageous public safety professionals who work inside prisons deserve our highest respect."

Monk is serving 97 years. In 1988, he was sentenced in Maricopa County for armed robbery, sexual assault and kidnapping. In 2006, he was also convicted of assault, kidnapping, promoting prison contraband and sexual assault while incarcerated.

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Doug Ducey, Arizona governor, wrote online this week: "Arizona's Correctional Officers put their lives on the line to protect our safety. This is another example of the difficulties and dangers they face as they carry out their duties. Thank you to everyone involved for your heroic actions."

Video: Arizona Prison Inmate Takes Librarian Hostage, Holds Shank To Neck | U.S.