Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel provides the following statement on the death of SCI Somerset Sergeant Mark J. Baserman:
“On behalf of the entire Department of Corrections, it is with deepest sympathy that I report the death of Sgt. Mark J. Baserman on February 26,” Secretary Wetzel said. “The minute we learned of this unprovoked, brutal attack on Sgt. Baserman and another officer who came to his aid our hearts sank. We are greatly saddened by Sgt. Baserman’s death and our thoughts are with his family at this time.”
“Frances and I share our deepest condolences with Sgt. Baserman’s family, friends and co-workers, especially the officer who came to his aid and who also was attacked,” said Gov. Tom Wolf. “DOC, specifically to SCI Somerset, will have all the resources its needs during this difficult time. I also ask all Pennsylvanians to stand behind DOC employees now and always, as these law enforcement officers’ jobs are vital to protecting public safety.”
On Thursday, February 15, at approximately 7 p.m., Sgt. Baserman was at the officers’ desk in a housing unit day room when an inmate approached him and began assaulting him. The inmate punched the officer, forcing him to the ground and continued to beat him.
Another officer working on the same housing unit responded to assist Sgt. Baserman and also was attacked by the inmate. Additional staff responded and restrained the inmate, while other staff provided medical care to the two injured officers. The inmate was immediately transferred to another state prison. No weapons were used by the inmate during this attack and no other inmates were involved.
Both officers were taken to a local hospital for treatment. Sgt. Baserman remained hospitalized at Johnstown’s Conemaugh Hospital in serious condition until his death. The other officer was treated and released.
Paul Kendrick, 22, of Pittsburgh, who is serving a life sentence for first degree murder, has been charged by Pennsylvania State Police in connection with the attacks.
Sgt. Baserman began his employment with the DOC in 2007 at the now closed SCI Cresson. He has been employed at SCI Somerset, since 2012 and was promoted to sergeant in 2016.
The last fatal staff assault by an inmate occurred on SCI Graterford on March 20, 1979.
Staff for some odd reason want to ban Timberland boots after this incident. ‘