Inmate's death ruled a suicide
SUNBURY - The death of an inmate at Northumberland County Prison on Sunday night was ruled a suicide by the county coroner Monday.
Cyrus Lewis, 34, of Shamokin, was found unresponsive inside his cell by a prison officer during a routine check about 9:25 p.m., according to Warden Roy Johnson. He was alone, and was last seen alive about 15 minutes prior. A prison nurse responded and checked his vitals before using a defibrillator and also continuing CPR until ambulance personnel arrived, Johnson said.
Lewis was taken to Sunbury Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly before 10 p.m.
He was jailed Tuesday night, June 10, following a string of alleged crimes that culminated with a failed attempt to steal a pickup truck from the parking lot of a Shamokin convenience store.
Coroner James Kelley deferred further comment Monday, saying more details would be released upon the completion of an investigation.
Johnson cited federal privacy regulations when asked if Lewis was on suicide watch. County Commissioner Rick Shoch, a prison board member, also refrained from comment. However, Shoch said, "whatever measures that were appropriate for (Lewis) were being followed."
A joint investigation between prison staff, the coroner and Sunbury police continues.
Surveillance footage from inside the prison confirmed Lewis was alone in his cell at the time of his death, Kelley said in a press release Monday.
Officers' written reports are being used to create a timeline of events.
Foul play is not suspected, Johnson said.
The cell in which Lewis was found - right wing, first floor - has been secured. Johnson said a wooden door was hung over the cell door to prevent anyone from reaching inside the cell or tossing something inside. There are no other restrictions in place related to the investigation on the other inmates, he said.
Second in 10 months
Lewis' suicide is the second at Northumberland County Prison in 10 months. Andrew W. Beers, 27, of Paxinos, was found dead inside his two-man cell from an apparent hanging in August.
His suicide prompted the prison board to establish protocols for unnatural inmate deaths, including having Sunbury police respond and secure the facility as a crime scene.