Authorities have released the names of the deputy and inmate involved in a shooting at a Fayette County hospital over the weekend. The Department of Public Safety have identified the Fayette County Jail inmate as 32-year-old Steven Harreld of Strawberry Point and the deputy as Jeremy Stiefel.
The incident on Saturday morning happened at Palmer Lutheran Hospital in West Union, where Harreld was taken the day before for a medical issue. Deputy Stiefel released the inmate from his handcuffs as he changed into his jail clothes and was releasing his leg cuffs when Harreld attacked him. Harreld grabbed the deputy’s gun and demanded his release. While searching for the handcuff keys, Stiefel reached his stun-gun like device. Harreld shot Stiefel, who deployed his device. Authorities say Harreld then fatally shot himself in the head.
An autopsy has ruled his death as a suicide. Deputy Stiefel, who was wearing a bullet-proof vest, was treated for a gunshot wound to his abdomen and released from the hospital.
The Department of Public Safety says Harreld had been an inmate at the Fayette County Jail since for about three days, after he was arrested on several charges stemming from a break-in at his ex-girlfriend’s house in Fayette County on August 19th.
Harreld’s family released a statement Tuesday, saying they are deeply saddened by his death and sincerely grateful that no one else was injured. They say Harreld battled bi-polar disorder, depression and substance abuse. His family hopes this tragedy will spark conversation about mental illness and substance abuse and the compassionate measures and training that must be in place to “ensure the most vulnerable Americans are safe when they interact with the criminal justice system”. They encourage anyone who needs support with mental illness to consider visiting The National Alliance on Mental Illness website at www.nami.org.
(Photos courtesy of Harreld family and Department of Public Safety)