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Georgia inmate shoots dead female food service worker, 24, inside prison kitchen

Georgia inmate shoots dead female food service worker, 24, inside prison kitchen

An inmate shot and killed a 24-year-old woman working in the prison’s kitchen before turning the gun on himself.

The fatal shooting occurred in the early hours of Sunday at the Smith State Prison in rural southeast Georgia.

Jaydrekus Hart shot the female food service worker at around 4.30am in the prison’s kitchen. The kitchen worker, an employee of the food service company Aramark, was named as Aureon Shavea Grace.

The Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) is investigating.

The kitchen worker, an employee of the food service company Aramark, was later named as 24-year-old Aureon Shavea Grace
The kitchen worker, an employee of the food service company Aramark, was later named as 24-year-old Aureon Shavea Grace (Matthew H Lovett & Sons Funeral Home LLC)

“The weapon is in GDC custody at this time, and a complete and thorough investigation of what led up to this tragic incident will be carried out,” the department told The Independent. “GDC Special Agents are responding and are providing staffing support to the facility.”

Hart was serving 20 years for voluntary manslaughter in Carroll County, with a maximum release date of June 2043.

It is unclear how Hart obtained the weapon. A prison spokesperson said that further details would be provided when they became available.

“We are heartbroken over the loss of our colleague and our hearts and prayers go out to her family,” Aramark spokesperson Debbie Albert said in a statement. “This is a tragedy for all of us.”

The company was assisting Georgia prison officials in their investigation.

Inmate Jaydrekus Hart – shot the 24-year old female food service worker at around 4.30am in the prison’s kitchen. He then used the gun to kill himself
Inmate Jaydrekus Hart – shot the 24-year old female food service worker at around 4.30am in the prison’s kitchen. He then used the gun to kill himself (Georgia Department of Corrections)

Friends and family paid tribute to Grace, describing her as “kind and pure hearted” with a “beautiful smile.”

“It was a pleasure working with you and getting to know you especially your laughter and we both love to eat,” wrote one colleague on an obituary page. “Praying for your family and your babies. U are truly going to be missed.”

One wrote: “Sending prayers and love to the family, especially her kids. She was a really sweet young lady, close friends to my daughter, we’re really gonna miss her. We love you.”

“Your spirit and your vibe was everything Grace. So kind and pure hearted you did not deserve this,” another person posted.

It is the second fatal incident to occur at Smith State Prison in under a year, after a correctional officer was killed in October.

Correctional Officer Robert Clark was escorting two offenders from the dining hall when one offender assaulted him from behind with a homemade weapon, the GDC said at the time.

The other offender stepped in to assist Clark and was also assaulted. Clark, 42, was taken to hospital for treatment but later succumbed to his injuries and died.

“The entire GDC team is mourning the loss of one of our own and we collectively express our deepest condolences to Officer Clark’s family and friends,” said Commissioner Tyrone Oliver in a statement at the time.

“We will support them as they navigate this tragedy over the coming days, weeks and months.”


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