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Corrections employee commits suicide at Pahrump federal detention facility

A corrections employee committed suicide Tuesday at the Nevada Southern Detention Center in Pahrump.

The private detention facility, which houses federal inmates awaiting trial, disclosed the suicide in a statement Wednesday that said the employee “sadly took his own life.”

The employee’s name and position have not been released to the public. Detention center staff members found his body after responding to a fire alarm that went off around 6 p.m. No fire was discovered. Staff contacted emergency medical services, who pronounced the employee dead at the scene.

A source with knowledge of the investigation said tear gas or some other chemical irritant was set off in the room before the suicide. The death was the result of a gunshot wound, the source said.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and loved ones of our fellow CoreCivic colleague, as well as with the extended family of Nevada Southern Detention Center staff,” Nevada Southern Detention Center spokeswoman Kayla Gieni said in the statement. “Resources are being made available to impacted employees at the facility as they cope with the loss of a colleague.”

CoreCivic, formerly the Corrections Corporation of America, is a company that owns and manages private prisons and detention centers throughout the country, including the Nevada Southern Detention Center in Pahrump. The facility currently is housing notorious anti-federalist rancher Cliven Bundy and his band of more than a dozen like-minded supporters who are awaiting trial on charges resulting from the 2014 armed standoff in Bunkerville.

The corrections company said it is cooperating fully with local law enforcement as it investigates the suicide. The Nye County Sheriff’s Office, whose jurisdiction includes Pahrump, is investigating. The Clark County coroner’s office will determine the official cause of death.

Contact Jenny Wilson at jenwilson@reviewjournal.com or 702-384-8710. Follow @jennydwilson on Twitter. Review-Journal reporter Henry Brean contributed to this report.

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