GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Authorities in Georgia praised three inmates who jumped into action after a sheriff’s deputy passed out and split his head open while working inside the Gwinnett County Jail, according to WSB-TV.
"We thank them for their timely assistance and the lesson their actions provide," deputies said in a statement posted on social media. "It's not the uniform that makes a hero. It's the person wearing it."
The inmates, who were not identified by name, noticed that the deputy conducting security procedures in the jail's housing unit appeared to be feeling poorly before the incident, officials said.
"They kept an eye on him as he returned to his seat at the deputy desk, where he lost consciousness and fell onto the concrete floor, splitting his head open," deputies said.
"The inmates, whose rooms were close enough to see what was happening, began pounding on their doors. Soon, the entire unit was thundering with noise as many inmates pounded on the doors, shouting for our deputy who lay unconscious and heavily bleeding on the floor."
The deputy later told authorities that he didn’t’ realize that he had fallen unconscious. He said he become aware of “what sounded like pounding drums and could hear inmates shouting his name over and over.” Thinking an inmate needed help, he managed to get up and open the cell doors before he fell unconscious again, according to WSB-TV.
The three inmates who saw the deputy's initial fall rushed to his side, using his desk phone and his radio to call for help, authorities said.
"These inmates came to his aid because our deputy, like most law enforcement officers, treats people with the dignity they deserve," deputies said Tuesday.
"These inmates had no obligation whatsoever to render aid to a bleeding, vulnerable deputy, but they didn't hesitate. Many people have strong opinions about law enforcement officers and criminals, but this incident clearly illustrates the potential goodness found in both."
Authorities on Tuesday said the deputy was recovering at home, where he’s expected to stay until he can return to duty.