Georgia prison guard kills inmate during hospital fight, GBI says

Man from Canton allegedly took guard’s pepper spray during escape attempt
The GBI identified the inmate as 31-year-old Jacob Henson of Canton.

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

The GBI identified the inmate as 31-year-old Jacob Henson of Canton.

A state prisoner who was being treated at a Middle Georgia hospital was shot and killed Tuesday evening when he overpowered a guard and took his pepper spray before charging at a second guard, officials said.

The GBI identified the inmate as 31-year-old Jacob Henson of Canton. He was attempting to escape from the Washington County Regional Medical Center, according to Washington Sheriff Joel Cochran. The inmate had been taken to the hospital after he was stabbed during a fight at Washington State Prison, the GBI said.

While Henson was receiving treatment, he became noncompliant and began struggling with the guards, Cochran said. He overpowered one guard, got control of the guard’s pepper spray and used it to incapacitate the guard, the GBI said.

Henson then charged toward the second guard while dispensing the pepper spray canister, according to the GBI. The guard fired her gun, hitting and fatally wounding Henson, the GBI said.

Henson died at the scene, according to the sheriff. Sandersville police responded to the shooting alongside sheriff’s deputies. Local officials immediately notified the GBI and the district attorney’s office for the Middle Judicial Circuit.

Henson was serving an eight-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to a series of vehicle thefts in 2019. He was convicted on a bevy of charges related to a crime spree that included burglary, thefts of trucks and ATVs, threatening victims with a sawed-off shotgun and a high-speed police chase. Henson was ultimately detained by armed citizens who found him while law enforcement officers conducted a manhunt in Cherokee County.

The GBI said it would investigate Henson’s shooting, while the Georgia Department of Corrections is investigating the earlier stabbing incident at the prison.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the GBI Regional Investigative Office in Eastman at 478-374-6988. Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling 1-800-597-TIPS (8477), visiting or downloading the See Something, Send Something mobile app.

This is the 21st shooting involving law enforcement the GBI has been asked to investigate this year and the eighth that proved fatal, well behind the pace of such shootings in 2023. The GBI had investigated 33 such shootings by this time last year, 14 of which were fatal.