The last inmate-on-inmate homicide on Rikers Island occurred in 2008.
By Michael V. Cusenza
A prisoner was choked to death by a fellow prisoner on Monday on Rikers Island in the first inmate-on-inmate homicide at the infamous jail complex since 2008, according to the Mayor’s Office and published reports.
Artemio Rosa, 27, allegedly jumped Casey Holloway, 35, inside the Anna M. Kross Center on Monday afternoon. As of Wednesday evening, a motive for the attack was not known.
The Kross Center houses inmates suffering from mental illness.
“This loss of life is a tragedy, and serious violence of this nature is incredibly troubling,” said City Hall spokeswoman Natalie Grybauskas. “An investigation is underway and we will do everything we can to get to the bottom of this heinous crime.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio was briefed on the incident on Monday, according to the Mayor’s Office.
“This horrific incident is yet another reminder of the shocking violence in our jails. The City must take immediate action to ensure the safety of everyone in the facility — from inmates, to officers, to visitors,” said City Comptroller Scott Stringer. “At the same time, we can’t stop fighting for reform until Rikers is shut down.”
In February, the mayor and City Council reached a deal to replace Rikers Island with a smaller, borough-based jail system. De Blasio and Council Speaker Corey Johnson have agreed to a single public review process for four proposed sites in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens. These locations together will provide off-island space for 5,000 detainees, and will include the three existing Department of Correction facilities in Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan, as well as a new site on the grounds of a former City Police Department tow pound in the Bronx.
The World’s Borough site is set for the Queens Detention Center on 82nd Avenue in Kew Gardens.
“The reopening of the Queens Detention Center not only makes sense but is the right thing to do,” Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills), who represents Kew Gardens, said in February. “This proposal restores the center back to its original purpose and ensures that Queens’ borough-based jail facility is located in our civic center, close to our courts. This smaller facility will bolster the safety for our Department of Correction staff, will create an environment that is more conducive to rehabilitation and will save taxpayer dollars on transportation costs. I look forward to engaging with the residents of my district on this proposal and I thank the mayor and the speaker for continuing us down the path of closing Rikers Island.”