Inmate accused of attacking Lancaster detective with blade

by: Greg Suskin Updated:


LANCASTER COUNTY, SC - A brutal razor attack left a Lancaster County sheriff's deputy with 19 stitches in his neck.

Investigator Fred Thompson had taken murder suspect Keith Robinson out of the jail to another office to interview him about other possible crimes.

Robinson, 20, was in chains, handcuffs and leg shackles. Sheriff Barry Faile said Robinson started saying he was in pain.

"He got to complaining about his leg shackles being too tight, cutting off his circulation, and when the officer reached down to check, that's when it happened," Faile said.

Robinson pulled out a razor blade and slashed Thompson in the side of his neck. Thompson and two other nearby deputies grabbed Robinson and subdued him. Thompson went to the hospital to be stitched up.

Faile knows it could've been much worse.

"I don't want to have to tell an officer's wife or husband that they've just been killed in the line of duty. That would be the hardest thing ever for me to do."

Now, Faile is investigating how Robinson managed to get the razor and hide it.

Inmates at the Lancaster County detention center are given disposable razors to shave once a week. That's required by state law. A detention officer brings them, then in about an hour, comes back to collect them from the inmates. The last time they were given razors was on Saturday.

Faile said sometimes inmates remove the blades, and they have to search their jail cell to find them. This is the first time he can recall that no one noticed that a blade was missing when the razors were returned.

"We've just got to make sure we don't let this ever happen again," Faile said.

It's not clear what changes could be coming, but the incident is still under investigation.

As for Keith Robinson, sheriff Faile said he didn't care about what he was doing.

"He's already in jail for murder. He has no regard for life," he said.

Robinson's parents felt differently though when channel nine spoke to them Wednesday afternoon.

Robinson's father, Keith Robinson Sr., said the family is deeply hurt by this.

"We're sorry for everything that's taken place. For my son's actions," he said. "I praise god that Thompson will be OK."

Robinson was in jail charged in the June robbery and murder of Donald Morris, 54, in Lancaster. Deputies thought he may have been involved in other crimes, and that was the reason for Wednesday morning's interview.

Just last month Fred Thompson was honored as sheriff's deputy of the year in South Carolina.

He is recovering at home with his family.

Sled is also investigating the incident. Robinson has been charged with attempted murder for the attack on Thompson.