An officer in Oklahoma “was just going in to pick up a tray” when an attacking inmate came out of nowhere, an Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson said, according to KFOR.
The inmate, 22-year-old Benjamin Buford, started punching and kicking the detention officer as the tray was being removed from an inmate cell at the county jail on Saturday, police say, according to KOCO.
The detention officer was forced to the ground, KFOR reported, and then Buford went in for his ears.
Buford bit off chunks from the officer’s right and left ears, police say, KOKH reported, and then the inmate tried “to gouge out one of the officer’s eyes.”
The officer “was fighting for his life at that moment,” spokesperson Mark Opgrande said, according to KFOR. “It happened so fast the officer didn’t even have time to call in on his radio for help. Thankfully, they were, of course, monitoring on our surveillance system. They called for backup, and detention officers arrived and were able to take that inmate into custody.”
Buford now faces additional charges of aggravated assault and battery on a police officer and maiming by disfigurement, KOCO reported. He had been booked into jail in August on suspicion of sexual battery.
The officer was taken to a hospital, where he has since been released, KOKH reported.
Sheriff P.D. Taylor said the officer, a five-year veteran with the department, is recovering and in good spirits considering the severe injuries, KOCO reported.