Two top officials at Tabor Correctional have recently died as the prison struggles with COVID-19

Updated: Dec. 31, 2020 at 11:18 AM EST
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TABOR CITY, N.C. (AP) - Two leaders at the North Carolina state prison that has recorded the most COVID-19 cases among offenders have died.

A state prison official confirmed Wednesday that Warden Brad Perritt at Tabor Correctional Institution died Dec. 15 and an Associate Warden Julian Priest died Dec. 24. The official says the department can’t disclose medical details of employees.

“We are deeply saddened to learn of their deaths and we mourn with their families which also includes their work families,” said Todd Ishee, Commissioner of Prisons, in a statement emailed to WECT on Thursday. “Losing a loved one is hard enough, but especially so during the holiday season. These gentlemen were career corrections professionals who dedicated their lives to public service. We are all feeling this loss.”

Priest’s son told The Charlotte Observer that his father died from coronavirus complications.

Tabor has recorded 560 cases among offenders during the pandemic, although only a few cases are active. Dozens of Tabor staff members who have tested positive are still off the job this week.

Associate Warden Jamie Bullard is currently running the prison, officials say.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. WECT contributed to this report.