Inmates rush to save guard after prisoner stabs her with scissors, Alabama cops say

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Authorities say an Alabama corrections officer likely would’ve died if a group of inmates hadn’t come to her rescue.

Officer Melissa Woodall was stabbed multiple times by a scissor-wielding inmate at the jail Saturday, according to the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office. She suffered injuries to her head and arm but is expected to be OK.

Authorities said the attack unfolded as Woodall escorted inmate Emily Sledge to a restroom. Sledge, who was being held on drug charges, was in a holding cell not equipped with a toilet.

As they walked, Sledge began hitting Woodall and both women fell to the floor, according to the sheriff’s office. Sledge then grabbed a pair of scissors from a drawer in a nearby cubicle and stabbed the jailer several times.

Woodall managed to unlock the door to the main women’s cell block, after which several inmates rushed to her aid. Five of them pulled Sledge off Woodall and restrained her until other corrections officers arrived, authorities said.

The women were identified as:

  • Janice Brooks

  • Stephanie Grimstad

  • Katie Moore

  • Valerie Moore

  • Mary Williamson

“If not for the actions of the inmates, it is very likely Officer Woodall would have been killed,” Marshall County Sheriff Phil Sims said. “One of the wounds was a puncture behind the ear which just [missed] the main artery.”

Police said she was stabbed five times in the head and once in the forearm. In an update Saturday, the sheriff’s office said Woodall had been released from a hospital and was recovering.

Sledge has been charged with attempted murder of a corrections officer.

Authorities said the incident remains under investigation.

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