(CBSDFW.COM) – Two longtime employees at two different prisons in Texas died this week after they tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ).
The department announced 70-year-old Akbar Shabazz died Thursday morning at a hospital in the Houston area after he fell ill on April 3 and also tested positive for COVID-19.
Officials said he joined the TDCJ as a volunteer and then as a Regional Area Muslim Chaplain in 1977.
“Chaplain Shabazz was a part of the foundation of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice,” TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier said. “His dedication to his faith, his family, and this agency will not ever be forgotten. I considered him a personal friend and this loss to all is heavy. We can only hope that the thoughts and prayers of the TDCJ family help to lighten the burden.”
On Tuesday, the department also announced the death of 52-year-old Jonathon Keith Goodman, an 11-year correctional officer at the Bill Clements Unit in Amarillo.
Officials said Goodman was found in his home on Friday, April 17, suffering from a stroke. He later tested positive for COVID-19 while in the hospital and was removed from life support Tuesday afternoon. Officials believe the virus led to his death.
“All of the thoughts and prayers of the entire Texas Department of Criminal Justice go out to the Goodman family,” Collier said Tuesday. “The unexpected loss of one who is loved so deeply is a tragic time and the TDCJ family sends its strength and extends its profound sympathy to the Goodman family to get through this difficult time.”
Officials said Goodman’s wife is also employed by the TDCJ.
According to the department, there are also eight other positive cases of COVID-19 in employees at the unit in Amarillo as of Tuesday.