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Inmates who helped MCSO officer rewarded with pizza

Bobby Ruiz. (Photo: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)

PHOENIX -- A Maricopa County Sheriff's Office detention officer is recovering after being viciously attacked by an inmate Monday.

Detention Officer Rachel Harris was conducting routine cell searches when an inmate, 20-year-old Bobby Ruiz, allegedly jumped on her back and bit part of her right ear off.

"I told him to come out (of the holding cell) and as he came out, I walked in and next thing I know he bit my ear," said Harris.

"We don't know where part of the ear is," Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said. "We're trying to locate that part but there's a chance he may have swallowed part of the ear."

Other inmates helped to pull Ruiz off of the officer.

"Once I saw the fear in (Harris') eyes, it was like we have to stop this," said inmate Andrew Davis. "You could see blood real thick behind her ear and the guy (Ruiz) had blood around his mouth. And then he took a swing at me and we ended up fighting."

Davis said he doesn't consider his actions heroic. He said he jumped into action instinctively.

He is nursing an injury as a result of the fight. He and the other inmates were rewarded Tuesday for their actions: The sheriff let them eat pizza.

Harris appeared to take the assault in stride.

"I knew what I signed up for," she said.

Ruiz is in prison for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Arpaio said Ruiz has been arrested 10 times in the past two years.

Arpaio said Ruiz was immediately placed on lockdown and put on a diet of only bread and water.

The sheriff said Ruiz will face charges for the attack.

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About the Author


Martha is the traffic controller in the KTAR newsroom. Her full time role is that of Assignment and Breaking News Editor of KTAR News. She oversees daily Breaking News planning and over-the air execution, and puts together the elements that make it happen. She gathers and distributes daily news assignments to reporters and editors. She also reports on a daily basis, anchors news afternoons 1-2p and fills in as anchor occasionally during other time slots. She began working at KTAR in the winter of 2012 as Desk Editor and was promoted to oversee Assignments and Breaking News in 2014. During that time, she received two awards as a journalist. The first was the 2013 APTRA Awards, where she took home 2nd place for Best Serious Future in the "Recycled Orchestra." The second was a 2014 Edward R. Murrow Award for her collaboration in KTAR's Voice for a Better Arizona Series: Immigration - seeking solutions. In her piece, Martha profiled two Arizona sisters looking for the DREAM. Martha was born in Mazatlan, Mexico. She moved to Arizona in 1996 with her parents and younger sister and has lived here since. She attended Barry Goldwater High School in Phoenix and graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University in Tempe. Prior to working at KTAR news she worked in news and production at Univision Arizona in Phoenix. She also supervised the marketing, catering and public relations department at Hotel Araiza, 5-star hotel in Mexicali, Mexico. She has also been a personal trainer and aerobics instructor. When she isn't in the newsroom or behind the microphone Martha is an avid gym-goer and marathoner. She trains for two races a year and enjoys taking group exercise classes, such as kickboxing, indoor cycling and weight lifting. Martha is married and lives in Surprise, AZ with 2 dogs, Tasha and Elsa, and a cat, Sammy.

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